Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Perfect Job

I was turned down for a job. Don't get to upset on my behalf though because I applied as a joke.

The job was a the role of senior pastor in California at a church of 5,000. They were very polite and set me a nice letter with very professional letterhead saying that, darn it, they did not think I would be the appropriate fit for that role.

But it made me think back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine shortly after he graduated from his graduate work. He was searching for a church and discarding one position after another, citing- from time to time- some pretty trivial concerns. Finally, I piped up and told him to just take the job he felt was MOST right and quit whining.

This is applicable to any job but ministers may be the most guilty of it as they search for jobs and churches. We get ideas in our heads of how the church should be, how the people would be, the staff we would have, and the salaries we should make and then cannot understand either why those churches do not want to hire us or why we cannot find those churches.

What I shared with my friend on that day was that you are not ready for your ideal jobs when you are looking for it like that. This isn't to enter into some Eastern style thought of, "When you no longer seek you will find,"- at least intentionally- but to some degree it is true.

Early on in your career you are not ready for it. You cannot deal with the demands, the expectations, the patience, the staff issues, or even the money. You do not have the experience. You can be educated at all the right schools, have done all the right internships, and even have great connections but in the end that simply is not the issue. Oh, sure, there are rare exceptions.

In fact, you probably wouldn't even be able to choose your "perfect" job if every job in your field was open to you. You wouldn't know yourself well enough because- again- you don't have the experience.

For instance, early on in my career, I thought I wanted a Ph.D. in Theology so I could nitpick my denomination for various things. Looking back I must have been insane. What would possess me to think that 7 years of staring at books, attending classes, and then delving into the finer points of TULIP and Armenian thinking would really leave me feeling fulfilled?

I do not know where I am going next. Yet. I have some leads and (at least) one REALLY exciting possibility.

Maybe there is no perfect job though, maybe that is a fool's errand, maybe we need to stop looking and just enjoy where we are at and let God's will find us. It seems like the less I try and force God the more He does.

1 comment:

Phil Strahm said...

Well said. I'm glad I didn't over-think my first gig in Youth Ministry which I'm still at 3.5 years later.

I really just prayed about it and sensed it was a good opportunity for me to grow. So simple...

However, I now often try to over-complicate so many things (including my future, seminary, family, etc) without simply trusting and relying on God's subtle nudge.

I'm glad I finished 2nd at a large church I was interviewing at back in '06...because it probably would've killed me. It would've been too much.