Using Your Skills

When you leave full time work behind you take a lot with you.

You still have the valuable skills, knowledge and experience that kept you afloat back then. And much of it ought to be valuable to the life of your church.

Of course, not everything accumulated in your years of work may be directly relevant. And you might be crying out for a change from what used to fill your days.

However, if you want to invest your past life into the future of your church you may be surprised at what you have to offer.

  • Knowing yourself

    It may be obvious to you what workplace skills you have to enrich your church. But perhaps not.

    So write down what you have brought with you. For example –

    • Customer service skills
    • Personnel management
    • Maintenance/building knowledge
    • Marketing
    • Team building and coaching
    • Research
    • Strategic planning
    • Commercial writing
    • IT
    • Budgeting
    • Making things happen
    • Presentations
    • Managing people
    • Mentoring
    • Fundraising

    Etc, etc, etc

    Can such ‘non-spiritual’ gifts be used to build up a church? Absolutely. Though you may have to do some work on your church leaders for them to understand.

  • Helping church leaders understand

    It is not always easy to use workplace skills in the service of a church. Strangely, many church leaders have a blind spot on the issue.

    Church leaders do tend to understand that their church needs to use the spiritual gifts of all their members. But when it comes to engaging the practical help of those actively retired it can be a different story.

    They are likely to see what ex-accountants can do as having a role. And then consider everyone else suitable for committees or rotas.

    This means you may well need to be proactive by –

    • Sharing with them the content on our page What Church Leaders Should Know
    • Pointing out, in a one-to-one, the skills and knowledge you have, together with an example of where it could be used.
    • Being proactive and offering to contribute to an area of church life that would be enriched by using your workplace skills and experience.

    Setting the pace by encouraging them to initiate a ‘Skills Directory’ or something similar. This involves those with time available – so not restricted to retired people – to identify the skills they could offer.

  • Walk humbly

    Just a word of caution. Using what you have gathered in your past life in the context of your church can lead to ‘I know and you don’t’.

    That may well be true. But the attitude behind it, and the way it is communicated, can do damage unless humility and a servant attitude are at its heart. It is here the words of St Paul to the church in Ephesus have a great application – ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love’.

    Remember too, that being a church leader is rather like herding cats. And may be being done by those lacking the same experience from the wider world as you. So cut them some slack.

Do you have an experience of using your workplace skills to serve your church? Please join our Facebook community to share. And Sign Up to our inspiring blog.

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife