As I look back over the year, I am grateful for everyone who has visited When You Work for the Church–for those who have left comments, contacted me, shared articles, made suggestions, vented frustrations, sought counsel, found support, drawn encouragement, offered support, or quietly read along. Thank you!
By way of review, I see that three of my top ten articles of 2017 appeared first in 2016, an indication of what bloggers call “evergreen” content that remains interesting and relevant over time. Two articles feature self-care and two feature mental health which are very much related concerns. The top ten articles together include one reprint, one curated resource list, two interviews, plus other original articles, and this mix reflects my vision for this website to feature excellent content from elsewhere in addition to original When You Work for the Church articles.
For 2018, I plan to keep the same bi-weekly publishing schedule and also develop a handbook on dealing with involuntary terminations since that is a specific area of need that (sadly) comes up again and again. As always, I welcome suggestions for content–topics that you’d like to see covered, people to interview, ideas for guest posts, your own story you’d want to share. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this article, or contact me.
In the meantime, please see below for the “stars” of 2017 on When You Work for the Church.
I didn’t write my #10 article of 2017, since one of my intentions for this site is to feature guest posts, interviews, and articles written by others with particular expertise and experience. Thank you to Alban at Duke Divinity School for permission to reprint.
My first article on When You Work for the Church, and the reason I started this website. The comments are well worth reading, especially this telling admission: “We have seen several poorly handled dismissals at the college in the past and hope that the recommendations that Gary has proposed will promote a more grace-filled policy”–to which I add, and more just and respectful treatment.
The termination of my husband’s job was brutal, but unfortunately many others have had experiences just as bad or worse. Like the office worker employed by a Christian institution who didn’t even realize that her job was ending and her replacement already hired–until it was announced at the annual staff Christmas party. It’s almost unbelievable–except it’s painfully true.
Research indicates that this is especially true for men, and responses to my article seem to indicate that as well. On Facebook, women who have lost a job and lost a spouse say there’s no comparison–losing a spouse is far worse. But the men who have talked with me personally or emailed, generally respond with “of course” or “I get that”–not because they care less for their spouses, but because losing a job delivers such a blow to their identity and self-respect.
Insider language might communicate well to other insiders, but there are pitfalls in using any kind of jargon, including Christianese, or what I call church-speak. This article describes a few too-common examples and what to say instead.
Announcing my current book project, due February 1, 2018, which is coming up fast!
An interview with Tony Roberts, who writes of his experience as a pastor with bipolar disorder, and an excerpt from his book, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission.
An interview with Leonard Klassen, and the second entry in my top 10 that features mental health and ministry: “One of the best gifts I was given by this church was the freedom to discuss my illness as part of my overall ministry. I am not my illness, but it is part of me.”
The second entry in my top 10 that features self-care. This article offers a curated list of articles which is another part of my vision for this site–to be a resource that brings together the most helpful articles on any given topic.
A combination of humour and practical tips that first appeared in 2016, and still makes it to the top spot for 2017.
Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate your interest, and if you’re concerned about the good, the bad, and the ugly of church employment and how we can all do better, please share this article and consider signing up for my free updates.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and New Year! When You Work for the Church returns with fresh articles starting January 11, 2018.