Here is my dilemma or Catch-22:
I have been searching for a full-time vocational ministry position upon completing my graduate education in 2010. I have been searching since January of 2010. Recently, a pulpit committee from a church in the Eastern US contacted me and sent me a questionnaire. I completed the questionnaire and submitted it along with several other pieces of pertinent information. I received an email back from them after a month that I am no longer being considered a candidate for Senior Pastor. This did not surprise me because I have been rejected 33 times since January of 2010 for various ministry positions, not just senior pastorates. I have always wondered what the specific reasons for rejection were. I have asked and all of the committees have refused to answer this question, except for the one that I just heard from on Monday.
I will summarize the response:
They gave me high marks for being a servant, but said that my background had too much on administration and that there was lack of experience.
I never thought that administrative gifts would be a liability, but that is not the dilemma. Ultimately, I am being rejected or denied opportunities, because I do not have experience. It is true that I do not have any paid, official experience as a pastor. I have served as a pastoral intern, and have served in a wide variety of roles within three different local churches since 1987. None of them have been paid, official positions. I currently serve as a deacon in the local church I am a member of now.
The big question is: How do I ever get experience, if no one is willing to give me a chance to gain the needed/necessary experience?
I have had many good people say, “Go out and start something” I would, but I know my gifts and abilities and that is not how God has gifted me. I would not thrive in that environment. I know a college professor who tried to start a church and he was not wired in that way and the church never got off the ground. He is now in an area where he is thriving and doing well because he is working within his gifts and abilities.
I look forward to hearing from you.