Over the last few months, I’ve been making the change from full-time pastoral ministry to “the full-time writer gig” as Steve Kimes put it when he interviewed me recently for a MennoNerds podcast. The conviction to complete my pastoral ministry has led to my new role as Resident Author with another church, new ministry as Editor of Purpose, a new transitional pastor for the church I used to lead, and fresh visioning all around.
So in my experience, yes, there’s definitely ministry after pastoral ministry, and you can listen or watch the MennoNerds interview about this below. I’ve also listed a number of other articles for pastors looking for non-church-related employment, who are retiring, or otherwise thinking about ministry after pastoral ministry.
Ministry After Pastoral Ministry
I enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with fellow MennoNerd Steve Kimes on pastoral ministry, writing, self-care, and other topics, including:
- The most satisfying part of being a pastor (1:10)
- Any regrets about leaving pastoral ministry (4:40)
- Recommendations on how to leave a church well (7:15)
This guide to jobs for ex-pastors says:
For many pastors, the search for employment can be quite challenging because their only employable skills are wrapped up in their religious education and experience. Let’s be honest, most employers are not looking at hiring individuals with knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.
However, you may not realize that within your responsibilities as a pastor, you possess skills that many employers desire: like management skills from your work with staff and volunteers and communication skills from your experience teaching and preaching, to name a few.
One pastor says he had to leave ministry for his personal and spiritual health. One of the things he’s learned since is that pastoral ministry can put you into a bubble:
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in a ministry mindset that you forget what it’s like to be a “normal” Christian with normal problems working a 9-5 job. You forget that 99% of the congregation doesn’t think about what you think about. They are preoccupied with simply being faithful Christians – paying the bills, caring for family, navigating relational dysfunction, struggling with the grit and grind of marriage.
When Michael Rowe planned to retire from full-time pastoral ministry, he and his wife, Maggie, had a shared dream:
reaching the finish line of full-time vocational ministry is a commencement; we were not so much retiring from ministry as retiring to something new—a fresh phase of life and service.
See his article for interim ministry, chaplaincy, coaching, and other options for ministry after pastoral ministry.
Robert Creech moved from pastoral ministry to seminary teaching, and in this article shares ten lessons he learned after pastoral ministry, including:
- I really like not being in charge of everything.
- How one leaves a congregation may be a contribution to its future.
- There are saner ways of living life than the intensity of pastoral ministry:
Much of the way pastors carry out our calling is unsustainable. The academic rhythm of life is much saner. I’m just saying: Were I to do it over, I would work on greater sanity.
What’s your take on ministry after pastoral ministry? If you have thoughts or links to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
For more on doing ministry better,