What I Learned from Working at A Church

I took this past school year off from teaching to finish writing and publish my book. During 705121_300x300this time I was lucky enough to have worked part time at my church as the assistant to the pastor. Yesterday was my last day and as I packed up my desk, I found myself reflecting on the experience. We see a lot of bad publicity about churches in the news and I thought I’d share a few things that I observed while working in one.

While these may not be true for all churches, here are a few things I learned during the last eleven months at the church I call home:

  1. The people who work at a church do it because they truly want to. They don’t get paid a lot and work many, many hours. They are filled with a passion for making the church a welcoming place for others.
  2. A lot of thought and preparation goes into each weekend. Don’t think that it’s just another Sunday- each song has been chosen and rehearsed by many, the message is carefully crafted, the lighting and videos are planned far in advance. Coffee, tea, soda, pens- all the things we take for granted don’t just magically appear, they require manpower. Churches NEED volunteers to help in many different ways.
  3. It takes a lot of work to do the fun events! Breakfasts, dinners, retreats, youth events, coat and food drives all require labor. Do not take these events for granted; several staff members worked overtime to make the event memorable.
  4. Just like any workplace, there can be drama when working at a church. But I found that at a church it’s a little different. People talk about the problem, possibly cry, figure it out, and then come back together because they realize that it’s not just about them. They are there to do God’s work.
  5. Employees at a church volunteer at the church outside of their work hours. This shows the level of commitment and dedication for the work that they are called to do. I can’t think of many other organizations where this happens in America.
  6. Pastors wear many hats. They are counselor, boss, friend, business partner and biblical expert. From my short time as an assistant, I am amazed that he can juggle so many things at once (and am a little worried because they didn’t hire a replacement for me yet).
  7. Prayer works. As part of an organization and community, I was able to take part and witness many answered prayer requests.
  8. The church community really cares for others. Whether it’s a move, new baby, hardship or death in the family, they rally around each other to provide comfort and support.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of my church staff even if just for a short time. I encourage you to look around at all the things that make your church feel like home and thank those who make it happen!

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those who hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)

Summertime magic

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Feel the warm sun on my face,

tanned skin, freckles, a slower pace.

Watermelon, corn on the cob, crabs,

no homework, tests, or science labs.

 

Laughter, games, friends and hugs,

come to dance with lightening bugs.

A break for students and those who teach,

flip flops, tank tops, a walk on the beach.

Welcoming with a wave at my feet,

the ocean is a summertime treat.

A playground for dolphins jumping pairs,

the salt remains on my skin and hair.

Three months is better than none,

let’s make the most of summertime fun!

 

 

 

Roadblock or Detour?

Do you ever wonder how you got to where you are? How sometimes you think you’re headed in a certain direction in life and then it changes?

Detour!

How do you handle it?

I recently had several detours in my life. I was plugging along as a HS special education teacher for eight years when I felt called to write a book (Detour #1). I found that balancing a full-time job, family and writing a book was nearly impossible and after a some serious prayer, decided to take a year off (Detour #2). Not long after I made this decision a part-time position opened up at my church and someone asked me if I’d be interested (Detour #3). It has been such a privilege to work with my pastor and other church staff and has given me even more appreciation for the wonderful things they do. After I released my book last year, I have had some amazing opportunities to share my story, write articles and appear on TV and radio programs during this time. I’ve also had the opportunity to focus more on my health and be more available for my four sons. I volunteered in my sons’ fifth grade class once a week to assist with math and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  This got me thinking…..what if? So this September you will find me in fifth grade helping students with reading (Detour #4)!l-450744

When life hands you a sudden change, do you embrace it or allow it to throw you off course?

I can’t wait to see what is ahead!

Tracey Casciano Featured on #WSATV Women Leaders’ Interview

Woman Speakers Association (WSA) is THE go-to place for innovative leaders, change-agents and women with a message to connect, collaborate and grow their visibility worldwide in order to fulfill their mission. As the first-ever global community for women speakers, WSA provides a platform for women to get seen, booked and paid AND be part of a growing network reaching women in 120 countries on 6 continents. Whatever her “stage”…be it the classroom, a boardroom, the floor of the U.N., WSA is dedicated to empowering women to authentically express themselves, build a thriving, prosperous business and cause serious transformation in the lives of their clients, companies, communities and the world.

I had the opportunity to be interviewed on Women Speakers Association TV last week with two other amazing women and wanted to share it with you. WSATV interview

“Never give up hope. We often don’t understand why things are happening when we are in the middle of it, but once you get to the other side, you often discover your purpose.” Tracey Casciano

 

 

 

 

Red, White and Blue (A 4BOYMOM Adventure)

The 4th of July is one of our families favorite holidays. We have a tradition of buying fireworks from a local stand and setting them off in the yard at night. One year we were at my in-laws beach house on the Chesapeake Bay for the holiday weekend. The day was filled with fun events including a local parade, playing in the water, and a picnic on the beach.

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As it got dark that evening, my husband began to set up the pyrotechnic display in the yard. Our 2nd son was about 3 1/2 at the time and was scared of the loud sound and ran inside to watch from the glass door. We oohed and ahhhed as the colorful display began. A few minutes later my mother in law exclaimed, “Oh my gosh….no…” as she was looking towards the house. I glanced back to see my little blonde cherub standing with a small American flag in his hand watching from behind the glass. “What?” I asked. She couldn’t respond as she was gagging and retching. I looked back at my son again and couldn’t imagine what had happened. I stood up, walked to the door and asked my son what happened and he just waved his little flag at me and smiled. I looked at my mother in law again and she was wiping tears from her face and trying to form words between gags. Annoyed I begged, “What happened?” At this point the show was finished and my husband joined us on the deck . Between gags, my mother in law explained what she has seen. My son, my bubbly, adorable toddler, had pulled his pants down, put the flag stick in his bottom and then curiously had put it in his mouth!

Horrified, the only word I could form was, “Why?”

The following week the same son developed a sore throat and ear infection. As I often did, I had to take all my kids to the appointment. As the doctor looked in son #2’s ears and throat my cherub said, “I think I know why I’m sick.” Dread filled my body as I began to pray (beg) silently, “God, please, don’t let him say it.”

The doctor said, “Oh? Why?”

I begged to be swallowed by the Earth as I heard my son begin, “Well, on the 4th of July I had this flag…”

Once my son finished the story, I couldn’t bring myself to look up at the doctor and the room went silent. My oldest son sat with his mouth hanging open, stunned that his brother just admitted (to a doctor) what he had done. After what felt like an eternity of silence, the doctor proceeded to tell my son(s) why we need to keep our hands and other objects away from our bottoms and as he left the room I was sure that our file folder got a big red slash drawn on the font.

Many years have passed since that incident and that doctor has retired, but something tells me that he hasn’t forgotten that story!