Behind the church staff door

What’s it like working on a church staff? Most think it’s a tidy job, full of holiness and days of happy and peaceful work. I think I may have thought that myself. How hard can it be getting ready for Sunday every week? Easter and Christmas once a year? Where days are filled with prayer and other quiet contemplations? Here is some random stuff from behind the church staff door.

Don’t ask, don’t tellThe day after Thanksgiving the Trustees of the church where I worked along with the Worship Committee would decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. A rather large heirloom nativity set was arranged in the formal entry and gathering room next to the Sanctuary. Each statue was 10 to 20 inches tall and a custom made stable with real hay were where the Holy Family were nestled. A wooden manger was placed between Mary and Joseph. But no baby Jesus. That’s because the Senior Pastor insisted that Jesus not make an appearance until Christmas Eve despite the long tradition of “never done that before.” To be sure the baby figurine didn’t accidently get placed in the manger, the Senior Pastor would hide it somewhere. The very first year of this new practice there was a mad scramble to find where the pastor had hidden the figure, because he completely forgot. Same thing happened the second year. Always in hushed tones support staff and custodians would launch a full search for the baby Jesus, never of course, letting on to the committee there was a thing wrong.

Gee, your sermon smells terrific
To make a sermon point sometimes pastors like to do tricks. One Sunday, our Pastor decided he needed the smell of bread baking during his sermon. He had us find every bread machine we could find, get them loaded up, programmed, and set to release the full aroma of bread baking at the appropriate time. For three Worship services. The bread baking miracle happened for two of the services but we peaked too soon for the third service. It was the contemporary service and the opening praise songs went long.

Unabashed chocoholics
Church staff like to eat and they like to have chocolate available at all times. I have nothing else to say about this except to inspire you to take a treat by your church office sometime.

Where else can you get grace?
There is more grace on a church staff than out in the secular world I think. I misspoke once, breaking an ethical and the policy of confidentiality. With scripture my supervisor and a lay person came to me, and with discipline, prayer, and grace, brought me back into alignment with what is right and good. I doubt I have felt more repentant, nor forgiven.

It’s a church, it’s a business
Churches have to have some business sense and sensibility. Churches are charged with being in mission and ministry and taking care of the financial stuff to make that happen. Your church business office works in transparency, or should. Questions should be welcome, but consideration should be extended. Your respect is appreciated.

The work of your hands
Church staff love it when people show up. They love it more when people call and commit to taking a class, help with a project, or serve on committee. It’s not about church staff doing all the work, it’s about equipping you to work along side in His Name. Don’t wait to get invited. Don’t wait for next week, next year. The life of the church is you, now.


Psalm 90 (New International Version)
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn men back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, O sons of men.”
4 For a thousand years in your sight are
like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning-
6 though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

This blog post is inspired by the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, and the word church.

About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
This entry was posted in Word At A Time. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Behind the church staff door

  1. Hi, Robin.I love this 'angle' on church! I think the story about losing baby Jesus is priceless and I have noticed that chocolate is a must around a church office…Thanks for posting. It is always better late, than never!

  2. nAncY says:

    good addition to the carnival.i like the story about the baby hide and seek.

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