Tim Keller’s book “Every Good Endeavor” is full of anecdotes about finding meaning in our careers and balancing faith and work. In choosing the title for his tome, Keller referenced John Coltrane’s liner notes in his “A Love Supreme” album, where Coltrane writes, “This album is… an attempt to say ‘thank you, God’ through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor.”
You work in ministry, and daily you put your skills to task in a vocation wrought with meaning and purpose. As a faith-based event planner, you have the tough task of staying true to your values, while simultaneously advancing in your field and sometimes calling difficult shots along the way.
But how do you prevent your work from becoming your predominant expression of faith, and how do you balance life and vocation? Here are tips from wise individuals in the faith-based field for leading a thriving professional and personal life, and even blurring the lines of worship.
Steadfastly guard your schedule.
First, batching your tasks by day and limiting email use is a surefire way to stay on task. TC Schwindling, director of creative services at Phil Waldrep Ministries, sets his week up with two days of meetings, two days of design work and one day of admin work. “Those three activities use such different parts of my brain that I find I’m more efficient for the ministry when I’m not shifting gears between them all day,” Schwindling says. He also wakes up before his daughters and dives into email only twice a day to maintain balance. “When you have two young girls, they need you to be mentally present when you are able to be physically present. So, I use Evernote to capture ideas and store them to think about later when I am at work.”
Connect your work to your creator’s work as a team.
Kick off mornings with a staff devotion time for 15 minutes, sharing requests, thoughts and prayer, and building team camaraderie in the process. Katie Dansby plans the Women of Joy Conference tour as a communications strategist. “This is such a great opportunity for prayer and even some laughs among each other,” she says. “If it weren’t for this devotion time, some of us wouldn’t see each other all day.” Pray not only for upcoming events and attendees, but consider taking attendees’ prayer requests from social media channels to lift up as a team.
Maintain office hours, but enjoy letting creativity roam “off the clock.”
Give yourself the grace to think outside office work hours about how attendees can be ministered to during the conference. Like Schwindling’s Evernote hack during family time, Dansby can relate: “My mind works off the clock because I’m surrounded by a world filled with ideas that can be used to reach people,” she says. “A cup of coffee with friends after work sparks communication, which in turn sparks creativity to be used to reach conference attendees with the gospel,” she says. “Or, spin class with loud music, disco balls and black lights reminds me that our attendees need to have fun while they’re at a conference. I’m not saying we need spin class at Women of Joy—I’m just saying it reminds me to think about the ladies who attend.”