Leaving a Career in Ministry: Part 2
My severance package summer.
This is Part 2 in a series of posts about how I left my full-time career in parish ministry, and how doing so allowed me to minister to thousands of people all around the world.
Perhaps it was bad theology that had gotten me to that point. For all of my progressive theological beliefs, perhaps I had held on to the idea that God had called me to do something with my life and that something was actually ONE thing: being a pastor.
Whether it was going to be campus ministry, youth ministry, parish ministry, or something else, that part wasn’t clear. But if I was going to follow God’s call on my life, it needed to be a career in ministry.
Throughout seminary, I was pretty sure I was going to be a youth ministry “lifer” or get into campus ministry. So those were the courses I focused on and the experiences I signed up for. It seemed to be a pretty sure thing to me.
And so, as I sat on that phone call with my spiritual director, I was at a loss.
Through a series of unfortunate events, it became clear to me that I could not stay at the church I was currently serving. I told them I was done, worked out a severance package, and that was that.
The summer of 2015 was my time to figure out what was next. There were some part-time gigs that I picked up and was grateful for: I served as a Parish Associate at Highland Park Presbyterian Church and worked for a bit at a maker space start-up in Evanston.
During the summer, I was hanging out at Starbucks a lot, doing some pulpit supply preaching, drawing a lot, listening to The Fizzle Show, and having coaching phone calls with a friend from college. Over the course of that summer, our conversations kept coming back to art, ministry, and finding a way to integrate the two.
But was it possible? I was familiar with the trope of the starving artist and wasn’t sure how to convince my wife or myself that I could make a living and help support us by drawing little pictures for pastors to print out on cardstock and use during children’s moments on Sunday mornings.
Do you have any specific questions about leaving full-time parish ministry and starting a business? Let me know in the comments.