Even when you find your work gratifying, feel called to serve the Lord, and -- with the notable exception or two -- have reasonable colleagues, you still experience days when sitting at your desk seems the epitome of unproductive drudgery.

Consider this: Move to a results-oriented workplace. What that means is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it, as long as your work gets done. The work is an agreed-upon set of goals set forth by your supervisor.Cube farm

You might think you already work this way. After all, isn’t that what deadlines and a yearly performance review are for? Certainly. But where are you supposed to do the work? Chances are, you’re expected to be in your office or cubicle for a set amount of time each day or week.

A Results-Oriented Work Environment (ROWE) does away with all of those expectations. Companies that embrace ROWE often do away with flex time, personal time, sick time and vacation time. You can work whenever and wherever you want, as long as the work gets done.

Maybe your best sermon preparation happens at Starbucks, or you’re most productive in the wee night hours, or your preschooler has an afternoon event you’d like to attend. Does it matter where or when work happens as long as it gets done?

Our view of time at work is antiquated. It’s left over from the Industrial Era and not conducive to the innovative productivity currently driving the Information Age. By shifting our expectations of work from being physically present in the office to measuring productivity by results, we’re able to work more efficiently, collaboratively and creatively.

Here are three reasons a Results-Oriented Work Environment can help you work smarter:

A better work-life balance. Capitalize on a warm day by working for a few hours and then going on a hike. Get your errands and appointments done when it’s convenient. ROWE researchers found that employees who participated were healthier in general and more apt to visit a doctor when sick. That’s big, considering ministry can be an unhealthy career option.


We have the technology. Home wireless service is now akin to paying for electricity. With that availability you can Skype with a writing partner in Switzerland, have a meeting via Google+ hangouts, sync calendars with your team and utilize project management software for most initiatives. All of this from wherever you connect to the internet -- a tea shop, the Laundromat, your kid’s gymnastics practice or your beach getaway. We have access to the technology; let’s use it!


Create space to network, collaborate, recharge and innovate. When focused on results and not attendance, you can devote time for soul-rejuvenating activities that will help you do your job better, be happier, and produce new ideas. You’ll finally have time to join that pastor network, engage in spiritual direction, bounce strategy ideas off other like-minded professionals, pursue a new project or glean new ideas for your ministry.

Beyond ditching the office, it’s hard to argue with a healthier, happier, more creative employee that maximizes resources and meets key goals.

But ROWE helps supervisors too. It makes them more accountable for setting concrete goals for their team and provides an easy way to measure the results of poor performers.

Yes, the church is about being faithful. But faithfulness also means using the talents God gives us. Working in a ROWE capitalizes on those talents and gives you the chance to expand your missional impact and be fully present to those you encounter and serve.

What do you think? Is a workplace focused on results feasible for your church or organization?

Jennifer Vander Molen is an electronic media associate for the Reformed Church in America. She is a graduate of Northwestern College. She worships at Fifth Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.