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7 Priorities To Navigate the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ of Career Ministry


Working on a church team for few years is great, but when you invest your lifetime career effort and energy, it’s a different ball game. It is clearly awesome, but it requires a different level of intentionality.

Your purpose and calling must be clear.

This will encourage you, there are countless church leaders, including myself, decades in and still going strong and with great passion. It’s not always easy, that’s true, but nothing worthwhile is.

Local church leadership can be a bit like the beauty and the beast, the art is to know how to tame the beast and embrace the beauty.

Tame the Beast:

  • You are always on. One pastor said, “I’m constantly being told to take my day off…unless they need me. Which is it?” That tension is real. We are here to serve, but we must also learn healthy boundaries and rhythms.
  • The job involves a spiritual battle. The better you do the more spirit realm resistance you experience. How’s that for a performance review? We must learn the power of prayer and experience the value in our community of believers.
  • Your spiritual life can become professionalized. Yes, that is true. But that’s only when you sacrifice your own walk with God for the sake of other’s walk with God. (We’ll come back to this one.)

You could add another example, but let’s go to the beauty.

Embrace the Beauty:

  • Your purpose and profession are combined. Countless church leaders would say, “This is my privilege, my calling and my great joy. I can’t believe I get paid to do this.” I’m one of those! Gratitude is our best response along with serving others well.
  • People are the beauty of God’s creation. We’re all a little bit weird. I sure am, but how beautiful is each of our individual weirdness. If you love people, full time ministry is a lot like human artwork, and the tapestry is beautiful.
  • Your work counts for eternity. Much of what we do on earth will perish, everything you do in alignment with God’s purpose will last for eternity. That is mind blowing!

I’m confident you could add more examples, but let’s dive a little deeper.

There’s nothing quite like serving the church with career focus and energy, its truly a gift to those who are called.

7 Priorities To Help Make Your Life’s Work in Ministry One You’d Say: ‘I’d Do It All Over Again!’

1. Understand the Difference Between Identity and Calling.

Your work is not the foundation of your identity, but it is the expression of your calling. Your identity is in Christ and your calling to local church ministry fulfills your God designed purpose.

All Christians are called to serve, and we can faithfully fulfill that calling from any choice of career, but there is a uniqueness to full time ministry. It’s not better, but it does carry very distinct facets that require our awareness and attention.

Your identity in Christ is your priority and your purpose and passion is expressed through your work.