Stop Making Your Community Tell You What To Do

The bargain of job security is this: do what you’re asked and you will be compensated–sufficiently if not handsomely–so that you can buy a house and a car, raise a family and see a doctor when you need. The best jobs go to the workers who do the best job at filling the role, performing the defined function(s).

The erosion of this job security in our time is chipping away at the compensation part of that bargain, but it is also eroding the other part, the do-what-you’re-asked part. There is more of a burden on people today, in a disrupted, declining, work economy, to identify what needs done and to put themselves forward as the ones to do it.

Obviously, this burden is also an opportunity.

An example:

A youth worker walked into a church and asked, “Do you guys have a youth group?”

“No,” came the answer. No budget for a youth worker=no youth program.

On to the next church to look for one of the last remaining youth worker jobs?


“Well, you should have a youth group; there are loads of teens in this neighborhood. Let me start one for you.”

Not, “Will you hire me for a Youth Worker job?” but, “Let me hire you as the community I’m going to feed with my work.”

This extends even to the job you already have. If the community needs something other than what’s in your job description, why not propose something else? If your sense of giftedness and call has changed since you were hired, why not skip the search for a different job someplace else in favor of engaging the community you’re already in about changing how you feed it with The Thing You Do.

Man, that’s scary.


3 thoughts on “Stop Making Your Community Tell You What To Do

  1. Donna Supinger says:

    But from what I’ve seen you do that well. Most churches I’ve been in don’t have paid youth workers/leaders but they have some form of youth group. Sure they aren’t as active as your group but they are there to feed the youth.



  2. Blair Bertrand says:

    Agreed. It is possible I think within smaller organizations because you are hiring a person not a role. The role, like the community, should shift over time. I was clear with my Session that my role was to shepherd the community through a building project and now as that draws to a close we need to re-evaluate my role. I’m excited about that, in part because I don’t want to move along but want to continue working in this community.\

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