10 Ways to Know if You’re on the Wrong Seat in the Bus

Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, popularized the concept of “getting the right people on the right seat in the bus.” It’s not uncommon in church consulting to find church staff members who seem to be in the wrong seat. If you’re wondering about your role, here are some indicators of that possibility:

  1. You get no joy in the work. Even when things are going well, you have no intrinsic sense of “there is great eternal value in this work.”
  2. You struggle going to work. You may not dread it, but nor do you look forward to it. It doesn’t wake you up in the morning.
  3. You give up easily when things don’t work well. When you’re living your passion, you press through the tough times. If it’s not your passion, it’s easy to give up.
  4. You’re constantly looking for other roles/way to fulfill your heart. You might even do other things without pay just because you really love them.
  5. You find yourself easily annoyed with little things. The smallest things can get on our nerves when our nerves are already on edge.
  6. You wonder what it would take to prepare for another role. You might even have checked out other training, other degrees, etc., already.
  7. You envy others in the role you think you’d love. You don’t want to be jealous, but it’s difficult not to be when you think you’re in the wrong seat.
  8. You wonder if you “missed God’s will” when you took the position. That phrase is a spiritual way of saying, “I’m not sure I’m in the right seat.”
  9. Your spouse is tired of you looking for the greener grass. Our spouse is usually the first person to recognize our discomfort in a position (in fact, our spouse may have warned us against taking the role in the first place . . . ).
  10. You find it hard to pray, “Lord, your will be done.” You want to pray that way, but you wonder what you’ll do if God leaves you where you are.

What other signs would you add to this list?


  • david mcbryar says:

    Love this message! When I was younger I managed fast food restaurants and I had another manager teach me a valuable lesson that is right on par with this. Cross training is good, that way when people call out you could call any employ and they could work any area. But when things got busy and rough his saying was, “Put the aces in their places.” Why would you want someone good at being a cashier back there on the grill and vice versa with every position in the restaurant.

  • Janet Westmoreland says:

    Hope you will do a list of “what to do if you’re on the wrong seat”!

  • Samuel says:

    Does this apply only to ministry or to secular jobs too? I feel like this on my normal day job.

  • Gail Stacey says:

    I spent a couple of years trying to prove I was a better fit for my position than some leaders thought I was. I was on the wrong seat, and it was a miserable season.

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