Churches are unique workplaces because they are still “open” when most people are enjoying their off days. Leading a church, especially in these trying times, is more difficult than it has ever been before. Weekend services, online streams, mid-week devotions—these, among others, definitely take a toll on church communication staff.
This situation poses a unique challenge for church staff. We are to ensure that we can still fulfill our responsibilities, but doing so in a process that does not burn us out. Just because there are many things assigned to us doesn’t mean that it’s okay for these workloads to overwhelm us. Goals should be set for us to succeed and prosper, not drain and neglect ourselves in the process.
Kristy Edgell Kish, a member of our Church Communication FB group, asked us what goals are reasonable to set for a burned out staff member. Fortunately, other members have taken their time to give their advice. If you are going through the same thing, we hope this discussion could help you.
“What are three reasonable goals for a burned-out, part-time communications assistant?
I have my mid-year review next week, and my boss (Admin director) asked me to come up with three goals for the next six months. Since COVID, my job has morphed a lot, and I’ve become a sort of everyone’s assistant… children’s director needs a registration created, I do it. A senior pastor needs booklets printed; I do it. The worship pastor leans heavily on me for help with uploading the service video and posting it everywhere, creating slides, writing announcements. I’m limping along with social media and the website as I haven’t had much input with those, so I research and try to copy what other churches are doing. I feel that I am winging every aspect of my job. As a part-time employee who hasn’t attended a staff meeting since March, I only know things at the exact moment they tell me, and most of the time, I have no real chance to plan. I don’t even know what my communications job entails anymore. I accomplished my last three goals (take an SEO class, create a communications request form which fell flat, help implement Text in Church). Before COVID, I felt we were on the right path, but it’s been a hard six years (I mean, months). Part of me wants to ask what his goals are for this position. That might be more helpful to me.”
“Explain how your job has evolved into something new and ask for their feedback on redefining / getting you back to that previous role and for help brainstorming goals during this difficult season. A good manager is there to help you and empower you so they would be happy to hear you out and offer assistance.” Amanda Chong
“Have a goal to take back your schedule. Meetings should be scheduled and requests should be formalized and accounted for in your schedule. No more popping into your office just to ask for a favor. Requests should be planned for far in advance so you can plan. Have a goal to have margin in your work schedule for whatever you want to work on (kind of like what Google does). Have a goal to create a clear boundary in what role or department you are in. General-assistant-to-everyone is not clear. Children’s ministry, Sermon prep, Production team, communication team etc., you can’t be on every team. Just pick a few and say no it’s too much for the others. Learn that things will be okay even if you say no. For example, you need to say no to last minute requests because if you keep saying yes, then that will become the norm.” Eric Liang
“Sounds like setting boundaries might be helpful. I’d also recommend coming up with a prioritization system for the work you’re asked to do. Press those requests up against your church’s mission and values, determine which requests will bring the most value to your organization and spend the bulk of your time there. And identify 1-2 people who could step in to volunteer with you to help with the smaller jobs.” Becky Patterson
“I’m praying for you and I have been in your shoes… Since Covid, I had to pivot into production. I map out my time and give clear expectations of what can be done in the hours they give me. Then when things go whacky, I have to adjust but it is getting much easier to say “No I’m unable to do that at the moment. My time is pretty restricted.” People understand and find other ways.” Crystal Shiozawa
Setting goals and creating a balanced environment between work and personal life for all church staff is a win for everyone. It not only helps the staff and volunteers, but it also helps the church better fulfill their goals. Knowing our boundaries is right, we have to humbly accept that we have limitations and that God has designed us that way.