December 24, 2020 –
Over the years, I’ve visited many pastors or staff member’s office. Some were adequate others appropriate, a few speak of big-time professional success, and looked as though an interior designer designed them.
A church should give their staff adequate offices; neither cubicles nor CEO man caves.
The design of the office sends an essential message to everyone who visits. For a couple seeking pre-marriage counseling, the message is of intimacy, bonding, and commitment. The message to an inquiry about salvation should be one-on-one urgency. Communications to a couple experiencing marital problems must be one of unbiased, open-minded give and take.
To do these things, I believe they must arrange the church offices in a friendly, relaxed manner, no barriers between the staff and people so they are at ease and open to a one-on-one conversation.
Big desk, fancy genuine leather chairs, costly couches, a massive display of books, Oriental rugs on the floor and a wall of framed diplomas do not meet these criteria.
Office furnishings need not look like someone purchased them a thrift store or Target. They should not look cheap but appropriate. The larger the church, the larger the expectation people have of staff offices. But, all offices must convey humility. As Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20)
While on earth Jesus did not need an office or a house, the world was His workplace, and His home was in heaven. Though our clergy has a home in Heaven, they need an office on earth. The litmus test is: Does this office intimidate anyone? Do all that enter sense God’s presence?
A staff member’s office is a place for study and meditation, and yet privacy. Its primary purpose is a place for staff and people to speak privately as equals.