Why half-timers can’t add.

Today was a hallmark day for me.  It was the first official day of my going to a half-time position at Bridgewood Community Church.  Let me think, the last time I was half-time at a job was …oh my…thirty-eight years ago.  That was when I was a third year architecture student at the University of Minnesota.  I was employed at the University’s office of Planning and Design and my job assignment was the designer of all the new parking lots for the campus.

 Actually I loved that job.  I loved the design process of solving the spatial parameters of the site and coming up with a workable traffic flow.  I loved the fact that the carefully prescribed lines that I produced on paper, became blueprints.  And I loved that those prints were taken by a contractor and actually constructed exactly according to my design.  I became passionate about parking lots, and why not, I was the U’s parking lot king!

Little did I realize until several years later when I became a full time youth pastor, how sweet that was.  The complicated reality of working with people, especially teenagers, instead of blueprints really hit me.  Now little of what I painstakingly planned turned out according to my design; and very few of my careful instructions were followed to a T.  Oh the joys of ministry. 

Anyone who ever works half-time at something knows that does not mean half-hearted.  Most jobs, no matter what their duration, require whole-hearted attention and effort.  And many half-time jobs, demand more than half-time time and effort.  So hats off to all of you who are part-time employees; businesses hum along because of you and would be sunk without you.  I suspect my half-time role at Bridgewood will be no different and pray that I can live up to the excellent standard of the other part-timers on our staff.

People are already asking me what I am going to do with my free time.  I honestly, do not have a ready answer for that.  For me free time has always been like an illusive butterfly, just beyond my grasp.  I suspect that will continue to be the case, because my type A personality continually finds ways to commandeer whatever free time may be trying to laze about. 

And that brings me to another important point.  A half-time position seldom if ever means half-time employment.  Many half-timers have at least one other half-time job in addition to their half-time job.  And that is why 5 out of 4 people have trouble with fractions.  No matter how you add all the halves together they always seem to equal more than one.

A number of years ago I caught a vision for using audience response technology for ministry in the church.  I experimented by renting a system to do a congregational survey called “The Day Bridgewood Told the Truth.”  It was a hit.  Long story short, in 2006 Susan and I started a company called Interactive Church Resources to provide this technology to churches through sales and rentals of the equipment. 

At the time I felt God had spoken to me out of the verse in Ecclesiastes 11:6 that says “do not be idle in the evening.”  And so every spare moment I labored to launch this business/ministry.  We went way out on a limb, purchased several thousand keypads and started marketing our services nationwide.  God has been faithful, given us satisfied customers around the country and continues to help us fine tune our focus to make this a viable ministry.  So this is one of my half-time jobs. 

Last summer I attended a church consulting certification school and my prayer is that using our interactive technology, this can grow into another half-time ministry

One other half-time ministry that I am exploring is writing.  Starting this blog is part of that.  I have several ideas for books that I hope to begin to pursue this summer.  And then there is one other business venture I have always wanted to experiment with half-time, but that is going to have to wait.  I am too busy right now trying to catch that butterfly of free time.

2 thoughts on “Why half-timers can’t add.”

  1. Tom – nice post. While I was reading, I thought about an article I wrote recently for a trade publication about independent practitioners in public relations.
    Technically, my “second job” has been writing, blogging, articles for this trade publication, writing for the BridgeWorks magazine and so forth. Trying to get the experience, if nothing else. And, while I was doing the article for the trade publication, I thought about going into the independent public relations practice myself. But, you are right, a half-time job rarely means half-time employment; especially when it’s your own business.

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