Praying without ceasing becomes real in this time. In these sticky times where you are trying to be wise with how much you share with others in your church and even your close friends, all you really have is your spouse and the Lord. My devotion life changed during this time. I found myself praying that the Lord would help me through this first thing when I woke up, during my lunch break, and before I went to bed. About two weeks into it, I found myself shooting up popcorn prayers anytime the job search came to my mind. Prayer is more for your soul than anything else. You talking to the Lord helps keeps your sanity and reminds you that ultimately God is the one that is orchestrating all things here. One of my biggest prayers was, “Lord, only open doors that you want me to walk through. Anything that is not right for me, stop it before I even can consider it.” That prayer is dangerous, but I believe that many doors closed because of it.
My flesh was trying to wreck me during this time. My ego was taking shots with every “We are going in another direction” email I got. My self-esteem was taking hits and I questioned my calling at times. I had a few friends that were not tied with my church who I could be real honest to. Sin was creeping at my doorstep, and stress and anxiety cause even the holiest of men to consider doing things that are wrong. I placed myself around brothers that would ask tough questions. “When was the last time you dated your wife?” “Did you read your Bible today other than for preparing a lesson?” “Did you give your frustrations to God?” These guys helped me find balance and fight off any temptations I had. Accountability is vital in general; but if the search begins to take too long while looking for a ministry job, and you are becoming emotionally and spiritually frustrated, these friends will help you stay the course.
When you know you are halfway out the door onto a new ministry job, it is easy to let your mind wander and slack off at your current ministry. The last thing you want is for the searching church to call your current church and for them to say, “Yeah, he has been slacking off the past few weeks since he has been looking.” Stay busy. Keep working as if you were not going anywhere. That church still has real people with real souls who are depending on you to shepherd them. If you slack off and let your mind wander, you will damage your soul and theirs. If you are not in ministry and looking for a job, pick up a hobby, exercise, or just do something. Apply to many churches, but if you spend every free moment of your time job searching you will go crazy. Date your wife, be with your kids, or go for a run. [That job posting will be here tomorrow.]
Remember where your identity is
We preach it to our students. We blog about it. We hear it from our favorite podcast pastors. However, we struggle with it. We know our identity is in Christ. We know our purpose is to glorify him in every way. We know he is the one that should define us. But when we are applying to jobs and 1 week becomes 1 month or 1 month becomes 1 year and your inbox is cluttered with jobs that turned you down, it becomes increasingly hard to trust God and feel adequate. Remember, there are way more candidates than there are ministry positions. The searching church has the upper hand to pick the candidate they like the most. They don’t care how long you have been searching or how you really feel about the church. We have to remind ourselves that at the end of the day God is the one who validates us as people and as pastors. He said, “we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” No job can validate you more than God.
Press forward in your search. That church you are looking for may be around the corner or it may be a year in the making. I don’t know. But be ready spiritually for the journey you about to take. It may be difficult but you will be better from it at the end.
Latest posts by Frank Gil (see all)
- Recognizing Seniors in Student Ministry and the Church – May 20, 2013
- Open Letter to Volunteers – May 10, 2013
- Being Too “Heavy” With Students – April 23, 2013