The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Doing Ministry from Home

The Good:

–  Face time with my kids – even if I’m working, I get to see my kids’ faces and they get to see mine.  Though I have to say quite a few times “I can’t find your Barbie right now, Mama is working” or “I can’t help you with that stage on Wii, Mommy’s working”, I am at least here to say that.

–  Getting more done – I know everyone’s work style is different, but I truly can accomplish more in the comfortable setting of my comfy chair and pjs.

–  Fewer interruptions from tall people – I love people and I love the people I work with.  And I know I am terrible about walking into others’ offices and interrupting their work flow.  I need to do better.  But that is also part of office community.  It’s good, but at the same time it can really hinder productivity.  And, yes, at home if my little people are awake I am interrupted constantly, but I can send them to timeout if needed. 🙂

–  Great connection with volunteers – One of my biggest worries was that my volunteers would feel slighted that I wasn’t in the office during office hours.  But the reality is, most of them work real jobs too and they aren’t available to think church business during office hours either.  Part of my crazy working schedule includes lunches with volunteers and their kids or late night ice cream runs to chat ministry or Facebook chat recruiting.

The Bad:

–  Work never really stops – I fit productive times around and throughout my girls’ schedule.  This often results in working whenever I can.  I often use the phrase “I’m always working and always not working.”  I don’t clock out at 4:30.  I just get it done when I can.

Impossible to do anything in a straight line – This is probably more the dysfunction of my brain more than it is a result of working from home, but I am usually working on chunks of different projects all at the same time – usually something at the office, something before dinner, something before bed.  There’s usually lots of zig zags, lots of requests for juice, a few games of The Ladybug Game, finding a lost stuffed animal, and a few timeouts before a task is completed.

–  Having two work spaces – I wish I had a dollar for everytime I said, “Aw man, I left that at the office.”  Seems like too often what  I’ve needed here I’ve left there and vice versa.

The Ugly:

Constant struggle between:

–  Mama Guilt – When I’m working I feel bad I’m a bad mama.  I feel bad when I have to say “wait” or “stop that” or “Mama can’t right now”.

–  Employee Guilt – When I’m being mama, I feel like I’m a bad employee.  I feel I need to overwork at other times to compensate for the minutes I am being mama during the day.

Remedies:

Choose your guilt – Andy Stanley’s book Choosing to Cheat was a life changer for me.  Basically he says you can’t be everything to everybody.  You are going to cheat someone. If you are giving 110% to work you are cheating your family.  If you’re giving 110% to your family, you’re cheating work.  You will cheat, so choose your guilt.  Choose what you are going to feel bad about.   Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.  Ministry will still exist when my girls are bigger.  I can NEVER have these days back when they are little.  I do not want to cheat them.

Time management and planning–  One of the greatest skills I learned from Jim Wideman is to track my time and to very specifically plan my time.  This did two things:  1) made sure I was utilizing my time most efficiently and 2) relieved some guilt because I could see on paper how much time I was spending with my girls and how much time I was working.

Iphone – Though it could probably now be classified as an addiction, I started with a Blackberry and then my husband graduated me to an iphone.  Having email in my hand has made ministry from home possible.  I can respond to volunteers’ emails quickly even if I’m standing on the playground or at the office or sitting at a red light.

Google docs – I put important documents that I need to access from anywhere I’m working on Google Docs.  I can pull it up and edit it from home, from the office, and even from my phone.  That’s eliminated alot of the stress of forgetting.

So, I know there are more of you out there who work from home.  What are your good/bad/uglies?

4 thoughts on “The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Doing Ministry from Home

  1. You mentioned using an iPhone to respond to email from home, playground or red light. The last one could lead to some serious time productivity loss issues. 😉

    1. I said stopped. 🙂 Not while driving. I would not admit that in type in a public forum. And most of those messages were responding to you!

  2. Wow, Jenny, you just summed up my life! I’ve often said that my iphone should be a work expense because I can work, even if I’m sitting in a car line waiting to pick up my girls. The guilt is definitely something I’ve had to learn to manage. I’m a driven person but have had to come to grips with the fact that I can’t be in multiple places at one time and can’t be everything to everyone. One of my primary goals in raising my children is that they will love the church, which means that I have to make sure that my ministry as Children’s Pastor doesn’t ever make them feel like the church has taken their mom! So far, so good.

  3. Great stuff Jenny. Love how you present the problems then follow with practical solutions. I too share your iPhone addiction. Keep blogging away!

    sam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *