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What to Do When Ministry Jobs Are Scarce

3 ways to protect yourself from unexpected unemployment.
What to Do When Ministry Jobs Are Scarce

I can’t remember ever hearing a discussion about unemployment in seminary. Seminarians worked on their Greek and Hebrew, interned at a church, and looked forward to graduation, ordination, and employment. The major questions we asked were, Which job will I take? Do I want to be an assistant pastor, associate pastor, or solo pastor? Or perhaps a military chaplain or missionary? The opportunities were many and varied. One could always find a job in ministry.

How times have changed! In 2012 the Presbyterian Church USA reported 10,262 active churches. In 2015, just three years later, they listed 9,642 churches, a loss of 620 churches. During those three years, 802 clergy members either retired or died. Yet 1,176 new clergy members were ordained. This presents a growing problem for seminary graduates beginning their ministries and for experienced pastors who must move due to a church closing, downsizing of staff, or personal family issues. Often, they can find no immediate job to step ...

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