Struggling to meet unreasonable expectations of your role in creative ministry? You’re not alone. The needs and demands of our roles have never been higher. That’s why Phil Bowdle joined us on the Road to SALT to talk about how to navigate the minefield of unreasonable expectations.
When working in ministry, especially creative ministry, most of us wear many different hats. But it’s important to remember you also have to be human. So, how do we create healthy rhythms that break unrealistic expectations that pop up in ministry roles?
These unreasonable expectations come from:
- Leaders above us
- Peers around us
- The voice within us
The Leaders Above Us
What if it’s your leader setting unrealistic expectations? This is the situation that most of us identify with more often than not. Remember that it is our leader’s job to give direction and set expectations. Keep in mind they, too, may be dealing with unrealistic expectations set on them. With that, it’s your job to help them understand what realistic expectations should look like.
In these moments, here are a few steps you can take:
- Take a deep breath.
- Remember it’s us with them, not us against them.
- Ask what the “why” is. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the “win” behind the ask or project.
- Clarify the expectations with your leader.
- Make sure your leader is informed on what it takes to pull it off. Costs, timing, what will get put on the back burner to make another ask the priority.
- God didn’t call us to ministry burnout.
A great team activity: Ask each team member, “What is your job? What do people think your job is?” Phil shares that it’s amazing how often teams aren’t in line with what their leader’s role is or what their co-workers job actually is. Keep in mind, they may not know every bullet point on your job description, but understanding the foundation of each person’s role can go a long way.
“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”
The Peers Around Us
Everyone often thinks their role is the most important, so it’s important to remember that we all feel this way and that is why unrealistic expectations often happen to those in creative ministry. You’ll have tasks that are directly dependent on your role and tasks that support others around you.
Because of these support roles, someone else’s procrastination can often turn into your emergency. But being proactive in your role will help both you and your peers. Phil suggests thinking of your time like a budget. You have a certain amount of dollars (time) in a budget. You can plan how you’re spending your dollars (hours) so that you don’t go over budget!
- Block out your time and communication your plans with your peers
- Expectations go both ways: you need things from them to accomplish your win, and they need things from you so that they can win.
The Voice Within Us
We often hold ourselves to the unrealistic expectation that we can do it all… or that if we don’t we are failing. Just as dangerous is the thought that we need to be perfect at our job. What can we do to help manage the expectations we put on ourselves?
- Be kind to yourself.
- Chase progress over perfection.
- Be faithful with your time and talent so that God can be in control of how fruitful you are.
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