I have served in Vocational Ministry for a little more than a decade when I was transitioned out. I have been an interim,Youth Pastor, Education Pastor, Associate Pastor, Campus Missionary and Teacher. Currently I am working in a manufacturing plant. It’s a good job, good pay but it’s not where my heart is. I want to share with you today a view from someone who feels a calling and a burden, but for some purpose, God has moved me away from the vocation that I cherished for a time.
The Pastorate can be burdensome, it comes with expectations that are sometimes unfair and requirements that stretch you too thin. It’s hard on families, especially wives. It’s draining and tiring and often a huge heartache, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t have a moral failure or anything, just a reality of church work is sometimes God moves you out of a church. Sometimes to another church, or in my case into a secular job. It can be heart wrenching but it always has purpose.
Vocational ministry allowed me to serve out of my biggest gifts and in my strengths. I always had people in my office to discuss theology and the Bible. I was able to teach often, prepare material, support others in their endeavors and promote great things like Sunday School. I was in a great place, but it came to an end. I don’t get to use the same skills to the extent in my new job. I do get to talk to people about the Bible, and I get to teach a little bit, mostly during breaks when someone wants to know more about something. It’s nothing like being in Ministry.
If I had that time back in my life, if I suddenly found myself in Ministry again (and I plan to be in Ministry again someday), I would cherish is more. I would welcome the office visits and the hard questions. Even the tedious meetings and griping people I would find joy in. Not because those things are pleasant, but because it means we get to work with people in real issues. We get to serve people and serve God in the mess. Life is messy, the church is messy, let’s face it, we are messy. Having the opportunity to walk with people as God cleans our mess is one of the biggest blessings in life. I hope those of you in vocational ministry take time today and every day to thank God for His calling in your life. If you would, say a prayer for me, that I would learn what I need to learn quickly and get back into those things I love. Let’s all give thanks for God’s provision and the blessing of His people.