KidCheck Secure Children's Check-In Shares Five Tips to Manage Bi-Vocational Stress

The term bi-vocational refers to an individual who holds down two jobs simultaneously, with both or one being a source of income. One job may be serving as a children’s ministry director or youth pastor, and the other could be working a 9-5 office job or a part-time position. Lifeway estimates that 26 percent of those in ministry are bi-vocational, and up to 55 percent had a different career before taking on a ministry role.

Whether it’s a small or large church, many bi-vocational workers still have the same responsibilities: preparing messages, attending meetings, outreach, connecting with families, planning events, and keeping up with administrative tasks. Bi-vocational ministry can be challenging as there is no such thing as a part-time ministry leader, confirming why burnout is common.

So how can you balance a passion for your calling and the demands of dual vocations? Here are five tips to help manage stress.

1. Consider Your Motivations Are you seeking to grow your organization? Why? Is it to reach more families, or so you can quit your second job? Growing your organization without the appropriate level of resources will only place more demands on you. Self-evaluate and get honest about where you are and where you want to go. If growing your organization is the only option, then look at how you can, in parallel, grow your support team.

2. Narrow the Focus

What are your priorities? Outreach, growth, new programs, volunteer recruitment, child safety, implementing new technology. The options are limitless, but trying to do everything simultaneously is a recipe for exhaustion. Meet with leadership, your team, a mentor, or a trusted confidante to determine a priority and then focus on it. Make a plan and start moving in that direction. If you get sidetracked, remember your priority.

3. Ask for Help

You may feel like everything that needs to be done in ministry sits on your shoulders, and perhaps it often does. However, this is an area that can be improved, and making small changes will not only benefit you but also your entire ministry. Look at your daily tasks, and identify which ones take up the most time, cause the most stress, and require the least training. Can you pass one or more of these tasks on to another staff member or volunteer? Can someone else step in and make calls, follow up with new visitors, lead prayer, take the lead on children’s check-in, or train new volunteers? The point is to ask for help!

4. Change your Thinking

It’s not easy. You’ve heard it many times; change your thinking about your situation, and your situation will change. The point of the platitude is to encourage you to shift your thoughts, which helps you draw a new mental picture of what you want and eliminate the things you don’t. The catch is if you don’t keep that new mental picture in focus, you could fall back into the same old patterns of thinking, which increase stress and offer no relief from being overwhelmed.

5. Take a Breather

Being bi-vocational means there is a never-ending list of “to-dos.” Which makes it impossible to stop, but not taking a break is bad for you. Build downtime into your schedule, and when taking a break, do an activity that utilizes another part of your brain. If you are analytical and focused, do something creative and whimsical or vice versa. Try being completely detached from email, cell phone, text messages, and social media. Take a nap. Read a book. Ride your bike. Go camping. Cook dinner with your friends or family. Watch old movies. Spend time with people who fill your cup. The goal is to consistently replenish your energy before you crash.

Stress and strain can tie us into knots. Sometimes it’s easy to think that gaining results can only be achieved by working harder, which can bring more frustration and exhaustion. Making simple modifications, changing our thinking patterns, and learning to ask for help can go a long way in better managing the demands of the bi-vocational schedule.

How have you managed to be bi-vocational? Tell us in the comments.

Click here to request a free children’s check-in demo. It’s an excellent way for organizations to see and learn the benefits of using secure children’s check-in.

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