How to Lose Your Job by Keeping It

Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.   Luke 17:33 (The Message)

If you didn’t already know, I serve as the Director of Worship (yes, I’m working on a better job title–suggestions, anyone?) in a Southern Baptist church that is struggling to find herself and a raison d’être in a post-modern (post-fundamentalist, post-liberal) world that cares little for the kind of theological positions and arguments on which the church built a sizeable following in the late 80s and early 90s. 

It’s a chancy thing to run the worship services in a stable, well-grounded congregation, but when the congregation’s not sure of it’s purpose beyond the defense of fundamentalist orthodoxy, it gets downright dangerous.  My position within the church is akin to that of a grounded lightning rod in a room full of highly active and opinionated thunderheads (no, I did not say “dunder-heads”) with opposing charges.  I get hit a lot.

I also have in my history the experience of resigning from my position as the main worship guy (there’s a shot at a new title!) in a rather sizeable church that I truly loved after an extended political wrestling match with a recalcitrant elder board.  Couple that with the fact that the average tenure of a staff worship/music person in churches is 18 months, and I have reason to be a little gun-shy about keeping my job.

I find I’m often tempted to play it safe, to find the path of least resistance, justifying it as a means to the higher end of providing a stable income flow for my family.  When I follow that temptation, I get bored, and when I get bored, I get depressed. 

Seth Godin blows the lid off the idea that playing it safe leads to employment longevity in this post, which I excerpt here:

At least once a day, I get mail from people worrying that if they are too remarkable, too edgy, too willing to cause change and growth… they’re risking getting fired. I almost never get mail from people who figure that if they keep doing the same boring thing day in and day out at their fading company that they’re going to lose their jobs in a layoff.

I need reminders like this, that it’s the people who keep their heads down because they need the job who get laid off en masse when the company or department fails.  Occasionally getting fired for being edgy and for pushing the envelope is (ironically) part of the job description for worship leaders and directors, and is nothing to be afraid of unless one needs the job.

And who really needs a job?  Don’t we all really just need a life?

Another great post is here:  How to lose your fear of being fired.

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1 Response to “How to Lose Your Job by Keeping It”


  1. 1 Mattchews October 6, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    For now, I will sum all my emotions up with this:

    I love you so much.

    To put that into more, I realize that you are a “strand” in my safety net, yet I get to find out new and fascinating things just by reading this. Which is WAY more than a blog, FYI. This is cool stuff and I am excited about what the future will bring! We’ll impact the kingdom by what we do – together – I know it.

    I love the TTTAB posts as well, by the way.

    Thanks, for letting me visit you here.


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