Trying to solve a Catch-22

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.



4 responses to “Trying to solve a Catch-22

  1. What does your local church think of your giftedness and/or call to the ministry. Are your pastors/elders not supportive? Can the church not help you to gain experience (even without taking you ‘on staff’)?

    • Funny that you ask that question, because I had a conversation with our Senior Pastor regarding this issue (experience). I am in a unique situation because I was ordained in 1992 before I came to seminary. I have been a member of my current local church for 10 years. I am not sure what they (pastors) are going to, but they have been having some conversations regarding this issue because there are some others who are in the same situation (wanting to be in ministry, but no experience beyond volunteer service as a layman in a local church. Thanks for asking and reading…

      • Terry. I’ve just realised who you are again. I just couldn’t work it out. MUst have been six years ago that you first ran across my old blog!

      • Yes, it is I! I recognized your name but was not sure if it was you. Glad that you have dropped by to read and comment!


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