Often I am asked, “What do I do to stay current and relevant while I am in-between ministry jobs?” In the current economic environment, that’s a question that is being asked more and more and is a worthwhile conversation. Below are a few things that I would encourage if you find yourself in that situation.
- Pray like crazy. I know this is obvious, but nothing you can do will ever supersede the power of God to accomplish His purposes in your life. We are called to be persistent in prayer (i.e. parables of lost coin, pearl of great price, prodigal son). It seems that our Father wants to see our desperation and dependence before He moves.
- Stay connected through volunteering. Doing so proves that you are committed to ministry regardless of money. That is the #1 thing that you can do to communicate to others that you are a worthy candidate.
- Stay current through reading books, blogs, articles, etc. about culture, trends, and streams of thought within ministry. This will enable you to have relevant conversations whenever the opportunity arises.
- Develop relationships within the church. Depending on the church, they may frequently get calls asking for recommendations. If you are engaging staff in dialogue about ministry through casual conversations over coffee, in the hall, etc., your name will come to mind when they receive those calls requesting recommendations.
- Network outside your church. If your pastor is going to a ministry conference, ask if you can tag along (however, these conferences are quite expensive, so it may not be possible). But, these are fantastic networking venues. If this is not realistic, find other ways that you can network with others.
- Be faithful to your calling. I am keenly aware of your hopes and dreams of being in a paid ministry position. However, you must honestly answer the question: Did God call me to ministry to be paid for ministry or simply to minister? While often we are blessed by seeing both of those components integrated, that’s not always the case. Not to be a negative, but simply realistic. When I was in undergrad school, I tried to volunteer within our church. The doors were all shut. Then, I heard about a guy I knew who was pastoring a small church on the other side of town. I met him one day and asked if he needed anyone to help with students. He couldn’t believe it and was thrilled that I offered. My wife and I started attending the church and helping with the Youth Ministry. That eventually turned into a part time position for the next three years, which God used to provide experience so that after grad school I moved into a full time position at another location. When we are faithful in the small things…