How My Dream Job Was A Lesson In Humility

During my junior year of High School, there was a clear direction for my life: I was to be a Church Music Minister. I had a love for music, played trumpet, sang in the chamber choir, and led worship at youth group. It was a no-brainer: Go to school for Church Music.

After four years at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL, I was married a week after graduation and landed a full time Director of Music position at a local church. Everything worked out as planned, and I actually landed a full-time job leading worship. My dream had come true!

As with any new job there was an adjustment period, a honeymoon period, and then reality hit. I knew working in church music wouldn't be all glamorous, but I was not prepared for some of the tasks required of me.


I still remember the call from our Associate Pastor. The phone rang and he said, "I need you downstairs, we're planting flowers."

Surely this was a joke, I thought. My disbelief in the sincerity of his request was evident. But sure enough, I walked downstairs to see the bed of the church pickup truck filled with trays of flowers. We were indeed about to plant them by the lobby (or narthex) entrance.

Apparently this was routine for the associate and youth pastor. They knew the drill, and were surprisingly quick at uprooting dead flowers to replace them with new. Meanwhile, with every flower I planted with my bare hands, the same thoughts repeated in my head:

How did I get roped into planting flowers!?

I thought I was the music minister, don't we have volunteers who can do this?

Wouldn't my time be more valuable doing my actual job?*

Little did I know this was the first of many responsibilities I would have to complete that fell outside my job description. In addition to planting flowers, other tasks included transporting garbage to a literal landfill, removing dead rats from the ceiling, painting, cleaning the restrooms, vacuuming the sanctuary, figuring out how to network some security cameras, lay dozens of concrete parking blocks, and the list goes on.

To be completely transparent, I did not complete all the above tasks with grace. I grumbled (mostly in my head), and asked if this was really what God had called me to do. Only in hindsight can I see the myriad of lessons I needed to learn back then that would prepare me for serving and leading in the future.


These stories from the road to leadership are parts of a whole. Each story will build on the last over the next several months. I invite you to subscribe using the form at the bottom of stephenrobles.com to follow along. If you have any feedback or questions, please leave a comment on the post or use the form on the Contact page.