A Pastor & Her Gigs

“Pastors: The Gig economy is here. Keep your day job. You will soon have more in common with artists/musicians than doctors and lawyers . . . ”  

Tweet from Jim Henderson June 2012 (@byJimHenderson)

freelancers-bibleThe Gig Economy is not a new concept, but this recent article (thank you KEWP) reminded me that women, in particular, need to stop underselling ourselves when it comes to sharing our expertise.  Colleagues and friends who have written important books, developed essential resources, and created inspiring art need to:

  1. not be afraid to self-promote such endeavors and
  2. not be afraid to charge what they are worth.

Frankly, we need the money that these gigs bring.

Most of us who write, paint, sculpt, film, and talk about spiritual/ecclesiastical ideas have regular jobs which inform our work.  While I no longer serve one congregation, I get to be up-close-and-personal with 100 congregations preaching almost every Sunday, meeting with personnel committees and other boards, coaching Search Committees.  And as I see patterns, my random ponderings about 21st Century ministry are better informed.  And so I have ideas to share.  Hence:  gigs.

My basic road show is 21st Century Church 101 and I’ve done it so many times and for so many years that it concerns me that some churches still want to hear about it.  “What do you charge?” people ask me, about this particular presentation and I never know what to say.  It depends really on who’s asking.

But as I ponder what Jim Henderson* tweeted in June 2012 about future pastors having more in common with freelancers than we have with white-collar professionals, I wonder how we will navigate these waters.  My own gigs come out of a day job that is also about professional ministry, serving in a Denominational Middle Judicatory which might not exist one day.  Many of our churches – especially new church plants – will have pastors whose day jobs involve keeping their First Career (assuming they’ve gone to seminary to start a Second Career) or finding employment as barristas or construction workers.  Their professional ministry will be in the form of “gigs” rather than their primary means of employment, perhaps.

I am grateful and delighted when groups want to pay me to hear what I have learned about Church World.  In fact I feel an urgency to share it.  I heart special gigs and I love talking about The Future Church.

But I wonder if one day most of our pastors will not have what we now consider to be “regular church positions.”  Instead they will have an array of church gigs that supplement their regular, secular income.  Who really knows?  What do you think?

*Jim Henderson’s group Beyond the Box granted my former church $300 to do something random for Jesus.  We bought $100 of Krispy Kreme Donuts and $200 of water bottles and handed them out during rush hour in the intersection in front of the church building.  No flyers.  No church t-shirts identifying us.  Just donuts, water, and a smile.


2 responses to “A Pastor & Her Gigs

  1. I’ve been thinking about this, not just since I read your post, but seriously for the last several months (and vaguely for the least few years). My training is academic, and academia and the mainline church continue to follow certain similar patterns. Except for the lucky (I use the word advisedly; there are trade-offs of course) few, academia (at least in the humanities) is also moving toward gig work: teaching one course here, two courses there, tutoring, editing, etc. As a mom with two kids and a spouse with benefits (I am aware that this gives me a tremendous advantage), I am beginning to be able to envision a life where I teach one or two classes 2-3 days a week and work in a church 2-3 days a week and pick my kids up from school most of the days and maybe do some writing on the side. It feels possible, and it even feels good. –Wendy

  2. Pingback: friday five: in the middle | Bookgirl

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