The decision to begin the search for a new job can be a difficult one. Whether you love your current position or have struggled with serving where you are, that season can be fraught with many conflicting emotions. Trust me, I know—I’ve been there.
But perhaps you realize that, in spite of the challenges of looking for a new ministry role, it’s the right time. You’ve sensed God stirring something in you, you’ve prayed and sought counsel, you’ve read tips on starting your church job search, and you’re ready to explore new opportunities. As you launch your job search, you should be mindful of lies that we often believe that can negatively impact the way you begin and end the process.
1. Every position will fall on your doorstep.
Because of the nature of ministry work, it’s easy to think that God will simply send opportunities to you. Sometimes a new role will fall into your lap. However, just like in the secular world, you will usually have to work hard not only to find the right positions to apply for, but to see the process through. Don’t just sit around thinking that God will act like the job fairy and wave a magic wand over your employment situation. As the saying goes, “Work like it depends on you; pray like it depends on God.” Knock on every door that interests you to see which ones open.
2. Looking for a new job is a betrayal of your current employer.
For the highly loyal person, admitting that it might be time to move on to another position can be heart-wrenching. It seems so ungrateful, so unfaithful. But it’s important to remember that everything has a season (Ecclesiastes 3) and while some seasons are longer than others, each must come to an end. Whether it’s because you have reached the limit of your growth with an organization or your visions no longer align, the best and most mature thing to do is recognize that and take steps to move forward into a new role where you can best utilize your skills and experience for the kingdom. When handled well, your supervisors are most likely going to respond to your decision to move on with understanding and grace. Even if they don’t, when you’re following God’s promptings and acting graciously and respectfully, you can rest easy knowing that you are not behaving disloyally.
3. The decision will be clear and easy.
At my church here in Houston, we just wrapped up a series called “Born for This” that covered the topic of purpose. One thing the pastor said that stuck with me was that while God controls our destiny, he often lets us choose the destination. This can apply in many areas of our lives, but I think it’s especially pertinent to the job search. Throughout the process, you may have to make difficult decisions that you’re never completely certain were the “right” ones. You may have to choose between or among equally viable, good options. Those are the times when faith and trust move from abstract ideas to tangible, actionable things. It’s both terrifying and thrilling, and I believe they are the moments that we look back on with wonderment and gratitude for the way that God was guiding us that we didn’t even know. So don’t let the murkiness scare you!
4. Your new role will be your “calling.”
Few people these days follow an obvious career path that moves in a linear fashion. Maybe your new position will be your dream job. Or maybe you’ll take a job because a church or organization has a need and you can meet that need for a time. In the latter case, it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly how that seeming “detour” or deviation from your plan will open up new opportunities you never could have imagined or orchestrated on your own.
Sometimes the job is just a means for God to do a new thing in your life. I have experienced his leading in this way in my own life. I went to Washington, DC, for graduate school in 2009—or at least that’s why I thought I was going. But God used graduate school to get me to the place where I needed to be so he could do a transformative work in me. Yes, my graduate degree has provided opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise had, but that pales in comparison to the growth I experienced because I allowed God to position me where he wanted.
This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here. To read more insightful articles on Vanderbloemen's blog, click here.