It is now April 22, nearly six months since I graduated with a Master of Divinity in Missional Studies from Liberty Theological Seminary. The closest I have been to a job was 1) a church plant that wanted me to do everything (which amazingly 140+ people applied for) and 2) an internship with a local mega-church that I am “too qualified for.” I am not qualified to be the lackey at a church plant, but I am too qualified to be an intern?
What the…(place your word here)?
I was brave enough today to once again browse churchstaffing.com, trying to find any church job that I might be even slightly qualified for…any job. I was quickly reminded of why I have not looked in a couple of months, and I am once again greatly discouraged.
What discourages me?
1) Most of the churches that post are large churches that are frankly over my level of expertise.
2) Even the small churches wanting associate pastors want 3-5 years of experience.
3) Most of the jobs available are temporary internships in other places that are being pursued by single, younger people than myself and would require expensive moving arrangements.
4) A lot of these churches are doing their searches through head-hunting groups that filter out inexperienced applicants (like myself).
5) Even children’s and student ministry jobs require experience.
No matter how many times I look on these websites, all I see is the same thing and I wonder to myself whether or not I am EVER going to be able to be in ministry. I just want a chance, to get in the position and learn what it means to be a minister in a church. I have no ax to grind, no preconceived notions of ease or grandeur…I simply want an opportunity to do what I have been called to do since I was fifteen years old.
So, churches here’s the deal:
You are asking to much of your applicants.
Since when is a pastor (or other titles) CEOs or executives? How come the church of Jesus Christ is now run by people with the most job title experience and not whether or not they are called and are serving in the church right now? We talk a lot about “servant leadership” but what I see in these adds is the desire for someone who has taken charge and been in control; someone who has earned their accolades and has a “proven track record”. Why have we allowed this to happen? Why does this not bother us?
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a corporation; it is the bride of Christ whom he died and shed his blood for!
It is one thing to ask for a good work-ethic and strong, proven character in your applicants, but why do we have to look at worldly “success” to decide who should run the church? Why are our churches enamored with success over the truth?
And I guess I have to ask, if I and others like me are right (and that is always a big if), why has God refused to give us opportunities in his church?
Can you see now, why I am discouraged?