Professional growth doesn’t just happen. Those who achieve expertise and maturity work at it.
One of the most attractive aspects of serving in the church office is that generally you have great freedom to make the job as significant as you want it to be. You can do only what the job demands or you can enhance your work by delivering over and above the norm.
Claim whatever freedom you have in your job. Put it to good use. Examine every day for opportunities to grow in ability, in knowledge, and in purpose. There is no limit to the good you can do.
Avoid pointless controversy
Are you ever amazed at the amount of time, effort, and energy eaten up by dissension in the church? The bad news is that the secretary often feels drawn into these conflicts. The good news is that you can be a positive influence and show your maturity by staying out of the fray.
• Examine your impulses.
What is your natural response to criticism? to a fuss reported to you? to rumors and gossip?
Before letting those reactions go public, ask yourself if they are responses you feel good about. In the past have you been pleased with the results of following those first impulses?
• Choose a wiser path.
To get better results from our actions, we need to choose better actions. Learn from the past. Next time others get tangled up in pettiness—issues having no real importance—you can choose to stay out of it.
• Focus on doing your job well.
While it is not your job to counsel others, you can lead by example. You grow in professionalism by concentrating your time and effort on doing good, productive things.
• Be a calming influence.
As you have opportunity, during the regular course of your work, be a peacemaker. Say and do positive things. Sincerely pray. Continue to love and minister to the people whom it is your job to serve.
Keep skills up to date
Like clothes and hairstyles, skills become dated and old-fashioned. Even the excellent typist doesn’t automatically become proficient at word processing. The prize-winning website of five years ago will take no ribbons today. The best records management of that era is less than adequate now. Staying in top form takes a commitment to change and growth.
• Evaluate your skills level.
Ideally, your church office has a yearly evaluation process in place—a means of measuring each staff member’s technical and interpersonal skills. But, do your own evaluation as well. Take an objective look at your progress over the past year. Pinpoint areas needing additional effort. Identify new skills you will acquire.
• Confer with your supervisor.
You can’t hit the bulls-eye if you’re not sure where it is. You need to know exactly what is expected of you, what skills your executive values. If you perceive it is your computer skills that need sharpening, and the pastor is most concerned about another matter entirely, you need to gain insight from one another and reach an agreement on priorities.
• Act on your assessment.
Once you know where you are, take action to get you where you want to be. Whatever your location, there are training resources within your reach via the Internet. Certainly, financial realities are a factor but every church can provide training opportunities of some sort. Realize, too, that personal funds spent on training are well spent. Pleasure gained by material things is soon past; pleasure gained by knowledge lasts a lifetime.
These are a few areas you can pursue in enhancing your job. You will think of others. Now is a great time to get growing!