Tag: Job

The Leader’s Family

When I was in graduate school, I worked an hourly job as a barista. I loved it, for so many different reasons. The people, the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the unlimited supply of coffee. I cannot overstate the beauty of that last truth.

A few years later, as I was finishing up school, I took a role on staff at a church. Instead of hourly, I was salaried. No more punching a clock. No more *required* lunch breaks. No more worrying about hitting my *full time* hour mark. A consistent paycheck was a thing of beauty. I wasn’t paid by the hour anymore. Now I was paid regardless of hours. I was paid the same whether I worked 40 hours or 80 hours. I was now being evaluated not based on the time I put in, but by the work I put out. My “grade” was built on the projects I completed. The leaders I recruited. The deadlines I hit. The goals I surpassed.

Being a “doer” by nature, I loved this. I loved tackling new initiatives, writing new curriculums, and building a team to help accomplish it all.

And now I had the flexibility to work from anywhere I chose: the office, a coffee shop, outside, or even my own house. It was amazing.

Until it wasn’t.


Work continued to creep in to family time. What felt like great momentum and progress began to take over my life. I found myself checking emails at any, and all, hours of the night. On my days “off,” I was cranking through writing projects, meeting with leaders, and planning events. And everywhere I turned, I was met with a, “Wow, you’re doing such a great job!”

Encouragement for a job well done is like crack for a “doer’s” soul. It feeds pride, and affirms all of the extra hours devoted, no matter what they cost in the moment.

“Great job!” doesn’t take into consideration the sacrifice that others had to make. It doesn’t factor in the ripple effect that the extra hours during family dinner had. Or the toll that it took when you scheduled a “working lunch” instead of capitalizing on time with your family. “Great job!” feeds the visible, outward-facing side of a completed project. The place where pride loves to hang out.

What I found was that every time I sent an email during family time, I was telling them that work was more important.* I was putting in all kinds of overtime for my job, and slighting the ones I loved the most.

Being in a salaried role, you may not be tracking your hours. But your family is. [Tweet that]

You and your family

I was tired of putting my family second to my job. Even though my “job” is my calling from God, my priorities were out of whack. My family is my primary calling.

God has placed your family under your care. And if you abdicate your role, you are spurning a gift God has given you. A beautiful, precious, and at times fragile gift. One that’s not easily gained, but in a moment can be lost.

Children are a gift from God. A reward. (Psalm 127:3) And a spouse? “Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the LORD can give an understanding wife.” (Proverbs 19:14)

My family is my primary calling. And so is yours. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full-time vocational minister or not. If God’s blessed you with a family, that’s your first calling. And it’s your job to guard your time with them, and treat it as the gift it is intended to be in your life.

Here are 5 ways I intentionally guard my time.

Guarding My Family Time

1. No more emails buzzing my phone.
When I feel my phone buzz, like Pavlov’s dog I have to check. Until I do, I twitch. So I turned off the buzz, and do you know what happened? I stopped twitching.

2. Calendar my Sabbath.
I actually block off time on my calendar for my day off every week. But even this hasn’t always worked. I’d block off the time, but still find a way to squeeze in an hour or two here and there. So in addition to calendaring my day off, I had to actually honor that.

Those are two different, but equally important, tasks.

3. Capture ideas, but don’t act on them.
If you’re like me, inspiration never strikes at the perfect moment. I don’t have the grand idea when I have my computer open. I have it when I’m almost asleep at night. Or when I’m in the middle of a meeting. Or…on my day off.

So I started working out this thing with my wife, where I’d tell her exactly what I’m doing: I’m jotting down an idea so I won’t forget it.

Because if I don’t capture that idea, I’ll be haunted by it, not able to think about anything else until I record it.

Quick. Easy. Done. Back to my family.

4. Take pictures, but don’t post them.
This was a big one. Because I’d take my phone out of my pocket to capture a moment, then when I went to post it to Instagram I’d get sucked in to the web of social media. Then I’d remember that email I had to send. Then I’d text a co-worker. By the time I’d blinked, an hour had passed.

So now I just use my camera app, take the picture, then post later.

It’s an easy step, and one that keeps me engaged with my family.

5. Get up early.
When I need to get extra work done, just like you do, I get up extra early. If a sacrifice has to be made, I’m going to be the one to make it, not my family. I’ll work when it’s inconvenient for me. My wife and kids aren’t naturally up at 4 am.

6. Be present.

When I’m with my family, I work hard to be with my family. It sounds simple, but removing distractions so that I can live life in the moment with those I love communicates loads of value.

I’m still not perfect at this. It’s a work in progress. But I’m continuing to take steps in the right direction. Oftentimes, it’s 2 steps forward, then 1 step backwards. But I’m moving in the right direction.

At least, I think I am. You’re probably better off asking my wife, though.

*There are times when emails and phone calls need to be taken on a day off. I get it. Emergencies happen. I’m talking more about patterns of behavior here, not one-offs.


Small groups pastor opening

Grace Community Church is a rapidly growing church plant that started with 11 couples in September 2005. We have grown to averaging 2500 Sunday morning attendees over 2 campuses. We are a church of small groups, hovering around 100 adult small groups. We also integrate small groups and the concept of healthy, biblical, authentic community at every age level.

We currently meet in two high schools, rented facilities, with plans in the near future to build our own permanent facility on land that we own and have paid off. Our vision for a building is centered around a facility that is not just used on Sunday mornings, but is used consistently by our community throughout the week. From day 1, we want to intentionally build a space that does not sit vacant throughout the week, and is a blessing to our city.

We have a staff culture that is innovative, creative and relaxed. We have high expectations of our team, and set the bar high for the work that we do; however, you will find our environment laid-back, fun, engaging and collaborative.

Clarksville is a growing city of 150,000 people. It is unique in that it is closely tied in with Ft. Campbell, an Army base, and Austin Peay State University, with ~11,000 students enrolled. Clarksville is a short 35-45 minute drive to Nashville.

We are looking to hire a Connections Pastor to lead the charge of spiritual growth and small groups.

What you need to be:

  • Team Player
  • Team Builder
  • Strong communicator (not necessarily a preacher, but this role will involve communicating with leaders regularly)
  • Strategic thinker
  • Strong recruiter/motivator
  • Have a heart for small groups
  • Value creativity and innovation

What the position will include:

  • Developing processes and pathways that allow people to find and pursue their next step of faith
  • Consistently beating the small group drum for our staff and our church
  • Recruiting and developing high capacity leaders

Interested? Think you might be a good fit on our team?


Fill out the form HERE (scroll to the bottom), and we will be in touch soon.



Is God evil?

Is God evil?

Of course not.  Well…most would agree that He’s not.

But does God allow evil things to happen?

Take a peek into a conversation that Job had with his wife:

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die.”  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.  Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”  In all this, Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)

Did God cause this evil to happen to Job?  No.  The verses prior say

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores… (Job 2:7-8)

We are quick to praise God for the good things that happen to us, and give Him credit for all of the blessings we receive.

But aren’t we also quick to shake our fists at God when things don’t go as we would like?  When we don’t get that promotion.  When we get sick.  When our children get sick.  When our marriage isn’t what we want it to be.  When all of our efforts fall flat.  When we strive with all of our might, yet get nowhere.

I don’t presume to know why God does what He does.

But this passage says that God allows evil things to happen.  And if you read through the first few chapters of the book of Job, you get some insight into how God worked, and how He allowed Satan to work on a short leash.  God didn’t cause evil.  But He allowed it with a purpose.

So if God allows evil to exist, does that make Him evil?  That’s a question you need to wrestle through yourself.  I’ve wrestled through it.  Last week, I was sick.  Not deathly sick.  But sick enough to stay home from work.  I felt rotten.  I had some sort of mild case of the flu, mixed with an ear infection, an eye infection, a sore throat, a sinuses that were trashed.  I also lost my voice.

And last week was one of the most important weeks for me in my job at Grace. I needed my voice.  And I needed to be at 100%.

So why would God allow me to be sick?  Here are a couple of reasons I came up with.  For purpose of generalization, I’ll call it “suffering.”  Some of you may laugh at this being called suffering, and honestly, I would, too, but suffering has varying ranges.  Bear with me.

A Non-exhaustive list of reasons God allows suffering

1. Suffering slows us down.  Our lives race on at such a fast pace that sometimes we just need to slow down.

2. Suffering causes us to think less of this life on earth and long for a better life.  When you’re going through suffering, life on earth isn’t as much fun.  We don’t value it as much as when everything is rosy.  We long for something better.

3. Suffering gives us time to reflect and evaluate.  What does your relationship with God look like when you’re falling apart physically?  Do you only praise God when everything is perfect?  Job was a great example of a man who praised God in the good times and in the bad. (Job 1:20-22)

4. Suffering puts the most important things in perspective.  When we are going through suffering, perishable things don’t matter as much.  We tend to devalue those things that are temporary.

5. Suffering allows us to be comforted by others.  If you never suffer, you can never receive the blessing of being encouraged and comforted by others.

6. Suffering reminds us we’re not in control.  When everything is going our way, we can slide into the thought process that we’re really controlling our future.  Suffering brings us back to the reality that we really have very little control.

7. Suffering allows us to be healed.  God is the ultimate healer, and we would never get to see that aspect of God, and receive that great blessing, if it weren’t for suffering.

8. Suffering, and recovering, helps us to comfort those whom we will come in contact with who suffer similarly.  Although suffering tends to make us quite self-centered, I believe one of it’s main purposes is so that, after God (and others) comforts us, we can extend that same love and care to others. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

9. Suffering gives us the chance to see who our real friends are.  Job had some pretty rotten friends (Job 4-25, 32).  Those who truly love us will stick by in good times and in bad.  And ultimately they want what’s best for us.

10. …

What would you add?


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