I’ve worked on staff at various churches for the past 11 years (feeling old) and I have noticed a pattern. The way someone thinks about their role in their church/organization will decide their level of burnout. Check out my last article on burnout here and let me explain.

But first, I have a confession. When people ask me what I do, I freeze up and usually end up looking and sounding like a guy that should be wearing a helmet at all times.

I know my job title. It’s just that my job title is only a part of what I do. In any given week I will perform several “occupations” at my job. Marketer, designer, project manager, videographer, web designer, creative, coffee maker, etc. And the truth is I enjoy the diversity. (I bore easily)

I am the future - have a nice day

Seth Godin made up a word to describe this idea that is becoming more common in our creative culture, “Multipational.” It means having more than one occupation at a time (and kinda sounds like a disorder). It’s the workplace equivalent of “multinational.” He suggests in his book Small is the New Big, that:

We could each pick a new, all purpose title that lets others know what we’re really focused on – titles such as “customer joy specialist,” or “change agent,” or perhaps even “gal who will take a meeting and then work the organization.”

I find job titles useful when they help people understand your role in your organization. They help organizations make decisions quickly and make sure the right people are driving those decisions. I find them funny when they try too hard like these examples:

  • Media Distribution Officer (Paperboy);*
  • Education Centre Nourishment Consultant (Lunch Lady);
  • Gastronomical Hygiene Technician (Dishwasher)
  • Field Nourishment Consultant (Waiter)

They also help teams inside organizations. But they can be equally useless when they damage organizations ability to act quickly, confuse people trying to understand your organization or hurt team dynamics.

At their worst job titles are used for the classic battle cry of procrastinators “It’s not my job.” Have you heard that one before (please resist the urge to throat punch)?

I would like to make an observation I’ve learned in the past decade:

People that view themselves as having an important role in an organization seldom burnout. While people who focus on their job (and job title) are often the ones standing a bit close to the flames.

So fireproof your job. Start to think of yourself by your role in your organization, not the job title thrown together to justify hiring you.

  • A youth pastor that is “successful” in a church that is struggling is an oxymoron.
  • Tech and communication are not the ones driving the message, but the ones who help drive it home.
  • Children’s ministry and “Big Church” are actually the same team.
  • One healthy team doesn’t make a healthy organization.
  • Good employees with lousy managers can still make a lousy business.

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If you are on support staff at a church realize that we win as a team and we fail as a team. Your role/job is in your organization, not in your ministry. So next time you find yourself tempted to say “That’s not my job,” remember there is a possibility that it is.

If you see yourself as part of the “video team” than every solution begins to look like a video. If you see yourself as a copywriter than everything solutions starts to look like written words. If you think your only tool is a hammer than everything starts to look like a nail.

Be multipational.

Be useful to your church/organization and not just your ministry/team.

Next time someone asks “What do you do?” what are you going to say?

 *Job titles taken from suite101.com

photo credits: caddymob via photopin cc and San Diego Shooter via photopin cc
and marsmet523 via photopin cc