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August 2022

Overworked and Underpaid  

by Marc Middleton

“Come to me, all of you whol are tired and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (ICB)

We’ve all been in this position before. We finished meeting with our Worship Design Team and our Pastor to put together the order of worship for this Sunday. We feel great about it. Afterward, we look it back over and realize we forgot one thing. We forgot to think about the amount of work, time, and effort needed to prepare this service. Now, we see that our cup overflows.


While working at my church in our Youth and Children’s Ministries, I volunteered as part of our Tech Team. The chaos of working with youth and children has been both a blessing and a curse at times. After a while of being on the Tech Team, I knew it was becoming more than I could handle.


It got to be a lot at times. My workload was getting large, from creating the announcement slides to choosing images, adding hymns and scriptures, and creating a way for people to be engaged in worship. I loved it nonetheless. I often found that preparing our screens often unlocked a part of my creativeness that I don’t utilize all that much, but it didn’t love me. 


When the COVID pandemic started, another tech team member stepped up and took over to ensure that we still maintained a connection with our congregation. I had to step back for some personal reasons. This finally gave me a chance to rest as I needed to. I never realized the loads I was carrying at the time. I never realized how exhausted I was becoming. I was and am so appreciative of how they stepped up. 


When we were ready to go back in person, it was time for me to get back into the ring. Now with more challenges. Not only did we have our regular screen preparations, but we also added an in-house live streaming component. I had about 5 days to learn everything, and I did. I was so stressed, but I was also impressed. After about a year of running our systems every Sunday, I realized I was getting burnt out again. COVID has obviously added strains on how we conduct ministry. So continuing my role in the Tech Team while managing my other ministerial duties was something I had to reconsider. Thankfully, the same member who stepped up before had stepped up again, which leads me to today. 


Why did I share all that with you? I share it to let you know that you are not alone if you’re getting tired and burnt out. It is exhausting creating an avenue for people to connect with God week in and week out. We put many hours of work into our day and even many days into our week to try and make sure that we are creating engaging ways for people to connect with God. A lot of the behind-the-scenes work goes unnoticed, and it’s easy to feel unappreciated, but people see it. People see all the work you do, just not how you see it. You see it from all the PowerPoint files, rehearsals, etc. However, your congregation sees the creative designs, emotional music, powerful sermons, and more. It’s in those moments when your congregation walks out and tells your Pastor: “That was the greatest service ever.” or “The music today was wonderful.” If you’re like me, you often stay behind in the Sound Booth to overhear those conversations. You hear them and get that little smile that grows on you.


All that work you’ve done has touched lives. This is what you should rest on. The heavy loads of preparing worship are tiresome and stressful, but the loads that Jesus carries are light. Let me share the rest of this scripture: “Accept my work and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will find rest for your souls. The work that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is not heavy.” (Matthew 11:29-30 ICB) 


When you prepare for your next service, I hope that you remember to keep your loads light. I hope the biggest worry you have isn’t: “I have to try and design these slides perfectly.” or “I have to sing this song perfectly.” The load that I believe Jesus wants you to carry is this: “Set the table for your congregation and let the Spirit move.” Let us pray.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for each person reading and hearing this. Thank you for the gifts you’ve given to them that help prepares an experience for their congregation. I pray that when times get tough, and loads get heavy, they can come to you. They can come to you and unload their burdens on you and walk away feeling lighter, freer, and calmer. I pray this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


About the author:

Marc Middleton is the Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries at Clio Bethany United Methodist Church in Clio, MI. He has helped out in a variety of ministries within the church but has a special connection with the Tech Team. There aren’t many days you will find him outside of the church with the many hats he wears, but he does rest…occasionally.



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