2018 was a big year for me and my family. By that I mean, I made a lot of major decisions and lots of things happened--a lot changed. Really, it boiled down to one major decision: Take a break from pastoral (vocational) ministry. This involved tackling probably the hardest thing I’ve done in quite a while. Let me give you a quick timeline of events:
I still worry that I left a lot of people wondering about my decision. Life was really pretty good and comfortable for my family and I. As a UMC pastor, the system took care of us fairly well by providing housing and other benefits. I just had to agree to move to any location in Missouri. I could go into a lot of reasons that all played a part in my decision, but I’ll boil it down to one. Leadership takes a toll on you. I know this. I signed up for it. I embrace it. I had a pretty good habit of taking care of myself. I didn’t have a good habit of taking care of my family, and more specifically, my spouse. Realizing this, I prayerfully considered my options and decided the best one was to take a leave of absence
The Most Difficult Task
Once I made that decision, I launched myself into “the most difficult task”: finding a new source of income. At first, I looked for ministry opportunities: chaplaincy and church staff positions. I wasn't satisfied with those options. It would have simply been a continuation of the status quo, which I had decided was not a good option...besides I was pretty well convinced that after 15 years of vocational ministry, on the whole, I wasn't very good at it. Being a geek and having talent with computers and technology, I looked into IT possibilities. While I had quite a bit of experience in IT through the church and hobbies, I didn’t have anything substantial on paper or any job titles to prove it. So I enrolled at Centriq Training in their Full Stack Web Developer program. That was the easy part.
I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy creating things. I love to let my curiosity run wild and discover things. School was easy for me (always has been). The hard part, “the most difficult task”, was finding a job. The last month of school, while I was in the midst of wrapping up my pastoral ministry and moving my family, I was also applying for 10-15 jobs per week. That was over 50 applications (mostly submitted online). Out of that I got 3 legit interviews. That’s a lot of rejection. The anxiousness and stress was overwhelming as time wore on without any luck. But I was in a no-fail situation, so rejection didn’t matter. I just kept moving on to the next possibility, making resume tweaks and evaluating myself all along the way.
Somehow, It All Worked Out
My official last day as a full-time pastor was June 30th, I was on “vacation”, so that wasn’t a big deal. However, I will say that leaving behind people and places for new things is always bittersweet. On July 2nd, I started my first day as a software developer at KSB Dental, Inc. It all worked out. AMAZING. Looking back, it really is a lot to comprehend. A lot of people, more than I realize, were praying and pulling for me and my family. I am thankful. In fact, that’s how I’m ending 2018 and saying hello to 2019: THANKFUL.
Glory to God.
P.S. There’s a lot I left out of the story, so I’ll keep sharing as time goes. Check back for more.
I am a Software Developer, a career shift made in 2018. So far, I have experience with C# .Net and Angular. I continue to let curiosity lead me into learning new technologies. I plan to share what I learn along the way about technology and personal/career life. Previously, my vocation was United Methodist pastor. So in addition to coding, I'll share about theology, the Church and The Bible. I also enjoy running, music, and I'm a deeply committed father and husband. Maybe my experiences will help you. I know it helps me to share.