So, you’re a pastor and you’re thinking about calling it quits? It’s time to hand in the towel because you’re burned out, stressed out, frustrated, or you’re having a crisis of conscience. But you’re caught up on a question you can’t seem to find the answer to: How do I feed my family now that I’m no longer a pastor?
Maybe you’ve been so busy with ministry that you haven’t had any time to invest in other employable skills. Or maybe you just don’t know where to begin.
I remember asking the same question.
I was going through a challenging time. I was leading several different ministries within our church and preaching during the interim, as our church was searching for a new lead pastor. Eventually a new senior leader was hired and, well, that made my decision to leave a little easier, as we didn’t quite see eye to eye on just about everything.
But, truthfully, it went much deeper than that. There were other factors in my life and in the ministry that just made things more challenging. I was burned out. I was overworked and I was underpaid. Or so I thought.
Very shortly after his arrival, the new pastor pulled me aside and, seeming perplexed by my salary, stated that I was “making too much.”
I was working between 60-70 hours a week (some weeks even more), leading multiple ministries within the church, all while supporting my wife and our newborn son. I was making about $12,000 less than the average median income for a person my age. We were living in a one bedroom apartment and, even after cutting out most everything we possibly could, we were barely getting by.
Needless to say, that was just one of the many reasons why I decided it was time to call it quits.
I don’t think my story differs much from so many others out there. A bunch of different factors came into play and I was left contemplating my next step. But one unanswered question still lingered: What do I do now that I’m no longer a pastor?
Well, first I needed to find a job.
The stress of making the decision to leave the only thing you’ve known is hard enough, but now you’re adding another layer of difficulty: the search for employment.
Finding A Job That Fits
For many pastors, the search for employment can be quite challenging because their only employable skills are wrapped up in their religious education and experience. Let’s be honest, most employers are not looking at hiring individuals with knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.