Working offsite for ministry: What is your church’s culture?

Posted on 13. Mar, 2013 by in Fresh Ideas, Random

At Gateway, we’ve been spending some time discussing work culture and debating the pros and cons. We really value flexibility as long as there is accountability. We outgrew our offices years ago. There are only a few lucky people who have an office to themselves, but even those days are numbered. I don’t think anyone is really advocating we build bigger offices, but how can we be more creative with the space we do have and how our staff works both in and out of the office. For us, many of our staff work offsite multiple days of the week. This kind of arrangement can always be a mixed bag. I thought I’d throw this conversation out to the community and see what your church culture looks like. What are the pros and cons you have experienced?

For me, I’m far more productive if I can get some hours away from the office. This usually means sitting in a coffee shop, restaurant or even a library. No one can bother me and I have multiple hour stretched where I can tackle big projects or work on creative elements that require a lot of concentration. I usually work offsite on Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings and whenever I can on Thursdays… depending on meetings I need to have. I probably average 10-15 hours a week offsite, and this really amps my productivity… but I know this isn’t always the case for everyone.

Even more interesting, both Yahoo and Best Buy have been very public about changes to their offsite work policies. Yahoo is bringing everyone back into the office and Best Buy is saying that it must be reviewed by managers on a case by case basis.

What about you? Is working offsite productive or distracting? Is it allowed by your church or restricted?

Meet Kenny

Kenny Conley has written 1891 posts on CMO.

Kenny Conley is the primary author of Childrens Ministry Online and the NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. In addition to creating the Illuminate Conference, a high quality kidmin conference designed specifically for volunteers, Kenny is a published author and speaker. For more biographical info, click here.


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5 Responses to “Working offsite for ministry: What is your church’s culture?”

  1. toddmckeever

    13. Mar, 2013

    In my churches culture we (the 15 pastoral staff) almost all work off campus, except our admins. I only spend Tuesday morning and then all day Wednesday working in my office. Other than that, I am mobile the whole time. Here it is more the bottom line than the way we draw the line that matters.

    Right or wrong, this is the way we work and it is working for us.

    Reply to this comment
  2. JC

    14. Mar, 2013

    In our culture, we pretty much do most of our work in the offices.

    I get more work done out of the office because of that. Our open door policy typically causes quite a few distractions. I wonder if everyone moved out of the office, if they would come back to the offices to get more work done…

    I prefer the flexibility to move around and pick places to get stuff done. Keeps my creativity fresh and my workflow uninterrupted.

    I imagine meetings would be much tougher to organize.

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  3. Kathie

    15. Mar, 2013

    Up until 2 years ago, the church I worked for set me up to work from home. This allowed extreme flexibility as to how I structured my days. Now, I work 5 days a week in the office, but have some flexibility to work from home. While I miss the ability to come and go as I please, I had craved working directly with others in an office environment.

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  4. Lynne Howard

    18. Mar, 2013

    I work in a very flexible environment. We are free to work from coffee shops, our homes, our offices, etc… I spend more time in my office than others on staff. The main times I work out of the office are for meetings with people at coffee shops and lunch meetings, etc.

    Our staff goes out to Panera together once a week for staff meeting, and several other pastors frequently go to Starbucks to work. I think it is a very good thing to offer pastors flexibility and trust them to have enough initiative to get their work done in the way that is most productive and effective for them.

    Not all jobs can offer than kind of environment, and that is one awesome thing about working in a church!

    Reply to this comment
  5. debby albrecht

    24. Mar, 2013

    We have a very flexible work/ministry culture that also expects high levels of collaboration and accountability. For the most part I love it! Makes leading a team a bit more complicated but It’s terrific when we each consider what’s best for the whole organization, communicate generously, and work hard. When a member of my team starts slipping in one of these areas, they may lose some of that flexibility.

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