Recently I added my take on being half of a clergy couple to the online series #Yoked. (Thank you to Mihee Kim-Kort for the chance to write!) While my main intention was to provide a peek inside one dual ministry marriage, I also hoped to articulate some on-the-job gleanings that have shaped my vocational life:
- It can take a while to settle into a ministry groove. This is partly true in my case because I had to learn how to apply seminary knowledge in the Real World. More than that, though, it took time to grow into the clothes of a pastor.
- Calls to ministry evolve over time. When I started looking for my first ministry position, I had a clear idea of what my professional trajectory would be. God laughed, then shredded my map. Thank goodness, because this winding journey has been much more fulfilling.
- One bad experience doesn’t have to be the end of the vocational line. I still feel the sting when I think about my stint in a toxic setting. But the pain crystallized my purpose and fired me up for what I do now.
- Pre-fab positions aren’t the only ministry outlets. I finally figured out I could be creative within my constraints. At times I have pieced together different ministry jobs to equal full-time work. At others I have accepted positions that were likely created with someone else in mind. (Most interim minister job descriptions are not written to draw young, female candidates!) And now I have started my own sideline, which may someday be my main ministry.
Ministry can’t be done well – at least for long – in isolation. I have my wonderful husband, who understands the joys and challenges of being a pastor. But I also have a network of local partners in ministry and an international community of young clergy women who teach and support me on a daily basis.
I hope my still-unfolding story is an encouragement to you, especially if you are a current or future minister wondering if this crazy, beautiful vocational life is for you. The church needs you!