I am one of those pastors, who, like so many others, became an expastor. People had always enjoyed my Bible studies and several people thought that my true calling might be in full time teaching; in a school for example. After 12 years of ministry, feeling unappreciated, and nearly having my home being sold out from under me to meet the financial needs of the church, I was frustrated enough to begin to imagine myself out of ministry and into a more normal vocation, like teaching.
The Lord seemed to answer my frustration by sending me to another, larger and wealthier church. Salvation at last. I was being recognized and appreciated for my hard work. I even had a retired pastor to assist me in this ministry. Life seemed very blessed by God. The congregation was growing, we were starting a preschool and daycare center, and the ministry was expanding.
Little did I know that the assisting pastor had been undermining the ministry even before my first day. Emails were being sent back and forth between members containing lies about me by the assisting pastor. My district president, who had also received these emails, suggested I resign.
So, even without knowing the what was in store for the future, I resigned. My wife – the Lord has blessed me with a loving, supportive, faithful and hardworking wife – had found a teaching job down in Florida so we moved even though I had no job prospects of my own.
I finally began working at a major retail store. I was happy and doing a good job. I was recognized and appreciated by my bosses, but I still felt like something was missing.
The teacher retention officer at my wife’s school, at her request, contacted me and guided me through the proper procedures on becoming a teacher. I passed all of the tests, completed the alternate route into teacherhood, and landed my first job at a juvenile detention facility. For three years I was able to teach 12 students five science classes. But, more importantly, I was able to bring to them my faith, my example, and my experience.
After that facility closed, I was employed by another school, by a principal who never even interviewed me. He saw that I was a pastor and had taught at a juvenile facility and hired me immediately because of those qualifications. Even in the public school, working with middle school kids, I am able to spread a little Gospel here and there.
By Mark Steinke
What’s your story?
Photo courtesy: Miles F. Wilson