What is your position with Life Church Online? I serve as the prayer leader Prayer Team Pastor with Life.Church Online. This means I get to lead a team of around 250 volunteers who receive and respond to prayer requests that come to us through email, web forms, and the Life.Church app. This team provides a caring response, including a typed-out prayer, and an invitation to attend a Life.Church Online service.
How long have you been in this position? I’ve been the prayer leader for the Prayer Team about 5 years, and I’ve been on staff with Life.Church Online for almost 9 years.
Can you describe to me a typical workday? Typically I start my day in the office with some friendly banter with my teammates. The Church Online team is a lot of fun, and I enjoy chatting and joking with them. Then it’s down to work. I review my week’s to-do list, and use that to create a prioritized list for the day. (I use Productivity Planner, which is a great tool that helps me keep the most important things prioritized.) I look at my calendar to make sure I’m ready for any upcoming meetings or events. I also block chunks of time to work on projects that are ongoing. A few times a day I will work through my inbox to make sure I address urgent items, and plan for when to address the non-urgent.
Share a funny story at work? At Life.Church, one of our core values is, “We laugh hard, loud, and often. Nothing is more fun than serving God with people you love.” So we intentionally have fun together. For example, one of our team members is a huge fan of the TV show “The Office.” For his birthday, we held Office Olympics just like were featured in the TV show. It was such a blast!
What is most challenging in your job as a Pastor prayer leader? Because our community is literally all around the world, the most challenging thing is finding ways to connect our volunteers with the vision and mission of Life.Church Online, and to build relationships in a digital environment.
Can you share an inspirational story? A woman, we’ll call her Jill, reached out to our team to ask for prayer because she was stressed out, working a full-time job, going to graduate school, and juggling family responsibilities. We prayed with her and she had a great response. “Thank you so much….I have tears running down my face as I read this…..thank you so much for the encouragement.
Since I have been in school, it has been very difficult for me to go to church…Life Church has been there for me. Thank you so much!”
What is one piece of wisdom you would like to share with my audience? God can redeem anything in our lives––the failures, the pain, the brokenness––but we have to offer it to Him with open hands, and trust Him to do what only He can do. Everyone’s story has a measure of hurt and hard times, and in many cases, we might never fully understand why things happen as they do. But we can trust that we are only seeing a small piece when God sees how it all works together. More than that, He uses it to create something beautiful when viewed from His perspective.
You said you worked for Life Church for 9 years, but Prayer Leader Pastor for 5 years. Would you like to share the other positions you held and what you learned from them? My first role was Experience Coordinator and then Experience Director. This was the forerunner to the current role of Host Team Pastor, now held by Steven Roberts. After that, my job title was “Maestro” which was kind of the forerunner to Training & Development Pastor, now held by Austin Taylor. Then I became the LifeGroups Project Leader, and part of my role was to lead the Prayer Team. From there I became the Prayer Team Coordinator, focusing fully on leading and developing that team, and then the Prayer Team Pastor in 2016.
How have you and your family be blessed by serving and working with Life Church? Because of the influence of Life.Church, my relationship with God is so much stronger and more vibrant. I still experience tough times, of course, but I am definitely more resilient in the face of challenges. I’m a stronger, more confident leader because of what I’ve learned here. For my family, God has used Life.Church to strengthen our relationships with one another, to keep us focused on what is most important, and to look outside ourselves to see how we can impact the world around us.
How do you manage your family relationships and the demands of internet being 24/7? The biggest thing is to realize that while the Internet is 24/7, I am not. After my relationship with God, my family is my first ministry, so I make it a point to have intentional time with them each week. Unless I have an evening or weekend video conference (limited to 2-3 a month), I leave my laptop in my work bag once I’m home. At least twice a year I take a week off, and in those times I follow a few steps to help me stay unplugged:
- If possible, leave the laptop. For example, when my family went to New York for Spring Break last year, I didn’t bring it.
- Turn off the email and delete work apps from my phone. If I see them, I’m more likely to check them, so it’s best to remove them and reinstall them when I get back.
- Make it clear on social media. Because our community is online and worldwide, people may want to reach me through those platforms, so I use them to communicate in advance that I’m not available. (A common strategy is to put ON VACATION over my profile picture.)
What boundaries do you need to have in place with all the social media and emails that inundate you from Life Church being so huge? One of my favorite mentors once told me that you train people how to treat you. So while I do my best to respond in a reasonable time frame, I’ve realized that if I always respond within minutes, people will come to expect that all the time. And I don’t want to be a slave to my email inbox and Facebook account. So I try to only check it at certain times of the day, dealing with most urgent or highest priority first.
How do you keep God first with all the demands this job has on you? Pastor Craig always encourages us to not let the work of the ministry replace God’s work in us. So I make my time with God a priority in my day. We try to talk regularly about how we are growing spiritually. And thankfully we have the freedom to step away from our office routine for a bit to spend some time with God if we find ourselves in a dry or difficult moment.