I have more than one job. I serve on a church staff, and I work at a nonprofit, community-based organization. (I also write, speak, etc., but let’s set that aside for the sake of this post).
I sometimes think of them as my inside and outside jobs. There are a lot similarities. Both are service, other-oriented. Both involve a lot of communication and relationships.
But because I’ve worked in ministry off and on through the years, I see some differences, too. Anyone who has worked in a church knows there is a danger of developing an “inside” perspective. We can get so caught up with the day-to-day operations and programs of the church that we neglect the impact we’re supposed to have on the community and world. Or we leave that for another staff member or committee to cover. We get used to certain terminology. Most our friends are within the church. Even though it’s not usually intentional, we begin to isolate ourselves from the outside world, which means we can’t have as much influence on others, and we don’t get frequent reality checks of what the world is up to. We can easily slip into an “us” and “them” mentality.
My outside job keeps me in check. And I love it! I get to come in contact with such a variety of people with different perspectives, interests, and backgrounds. I get to hear their stories, concerns, and even their assumptions about “you Christians.” Sometimes the harsh reality of what people think about Christians is difficult to hear, but I can also understand why people think some of the negative stuff about Christians. I can’t prove them wrong with words, but maybe I can begin to chip away at some of those assumptions by living consistently, replacing hypocrisy with authenticity, judgment with compassion, and elitism with humility.
You don’t have to work an inside and outside job to see it. Any of us can and should see the differences yet begin to live in a way that chips away at the harsh generalizations (that go both ways). We don’t have to get defensive or see each other as opposition. We can acknowledge we have differences but adamantly look for common ground.
We all have two (or more) jobs. But how well are we doing at both?