Many Church creatives work in environments where they are the only one of their kind. The rest of the staff doesn’t know what we people do. Being solo in our departments combined with no one understanding our role is a recipe for loneliness. Without a professional community the odds of frustration, hurt and burnout increase greatly.
The most frequent comment I get when returning from vacation is something like, “we’re still not sure what you do, but we sure are glad you’re back.” After years of flying solo, I hit a wall where I didn’t know if the way I was leading in my department was stupid or wise. I had no one to give me constructive feedback (unless something went terribly wrong, then my failures were easy to pin point).
I spent hours searching the web for encouragement and someone to tell me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. There was no way for me to win at my job without this vital feedback.
What a Professional Community Brings
- Validation – Without validation we can never be certain what we’re doing is best. Validation from professional peers brings confirmation for what you’ve done right and encouragement to build your ministry.
- Comfort – Within my professional community I would say that 70% of my challenges are shared by the rest of the group. Knowing that I am not the only one dealing with a problem brings confidence to my leadership. My problems are not unique to my surroundings
- Humility – I need to be told that I don’t have everything figured out. I can become focused on my solution as the only solution when in fact it might be a terrible solution. My professional community calls me out on my failures and reminds me that I am not god. This brings humility and reminds me who I am and who I serve.
If you do not currently have a professional community at great place to start is by connecting with counterparts from other churches in your geographic location. Seek out those individuals doing your job locally with other organizations.