Author Topic: Sacred to Secular Employment  (Read 1850 times)

wridenhour

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Sacred to Secular Employment
« on: August 18, 2009, 06:09:29 PM »
For far more reasons than the "sex" issue (though that is on the list), I've begun giving serious discernment to leaving ordained ministry all together.  I'm a "pipeliner" (straight from college to seminary to parish), so I will admit to not being sure how to begin a job search. 

How does an M Div translate in the business world?

Are there head hunters out there who can assist clergy looking to make the move from sacred to secular employment?

Are there church related or para-church organizations that, for lack of a better term, offer outplacement services to clergy?

I'd welcome any suggestions, leads, experiences of others from the collective wisdom of this forum.  Thanks.

Peace,
Rev Bill Ridenhour
First Englisgh Lutheran
Wheeling, WV

Mike Bennett

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 06:14:04 PM »
For far more reasons than the "sex" issue (though that is on the list), I've begun giving serious discernment to leaving ordained ministry all together.  I'm a "pipeliner" (straight from college to seminary to parish), so I will admit to not being sure how to begin a job search. 

How does an M Div translate in the business world?

Are there head hunters out there who can assist clergy looking to make the move from sacred to secular employment?

Are there church related or para-church organizations that, for lack of a better term, offer outplacement services to clergy?

I'd welcome any suggestions, leads, experiences of others from the collective wisdom of this forum.  Thanks.

Peace,
Rev Bill Ridenhour
First Englisgh Lutheran
Wheeling, WV


Two places that quickly come to mind where I've met ordained pastors outside a pastor's call

1. In college the Dean of Students (at Northwestern University) was an ordained pastor.  What path he took from the pulpit (which he'd once occupied) to the Dean's office I don't know.

2. In my first employer after public accounting, a manager in the HR department was an ordained pastor. 

Mike Bennett
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“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Bergs

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 06:26:12 PM »
The pastors I know of who have done this have gone into not-for-profit organization management or became licensed counselors. 
In Minnesota I know the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has a very active job board.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
But let me tell Thee that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing.
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Pr. Jerry Kliner

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 07:47:09 PM »
Bill...

We need to talk.  I will call you in the next day or so...  Until then, know that you are in my prayers.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

northdakota

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 08:01:23 PM »
For far more reasons than the "sex" issue (though that is on the list), I've begun giving serious discernment to leaving ordained ministry all together.  I'm a "pipeliner" (straight from college to seminary to parish), so I will admit to not being sure how to begin a job search. 

How does an M Div translate in the business world?

Are there head hunters out there who can assist clergy looking to make the move from sacred to secular employment?

Are there church related or para-church organizations that, for lack of a better term, offer outplacement services to clergy?

I'd welcome any suggestions, leads, experiences of others from the collective wisdom of this forum.  Thanks.

Peace,
Rev Bill Ridenhour
First Englisgh Lutheran
Wheeling, WV


Greetings Bill,

I have sometimes thought of this as well. While I am still in the parish, when my congregations were getting ready to vote on whether or not to leave the ELCA, I gave serious thought to going back to college and picking up a teaching degree. I talked with some educators around here and there is a demand for teachers, especially history folks in some inner city areas and 40ish people are especially prized. So that might be something to think about.

However, if your calling is still ordained ministry I would urge you not to run into something you will regret later. Perhaps you will find ordained ministry in anothe parish and another fellowship. Perhaps that might happen within the framework of the ELCA. Perhaps outside. Pray about that as well. It may be that the Lord is calling you out of the ELCA but not out of ordained ministry.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler

racin_jason

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 08:59:28 PM »
I once asked this question to someone who worked in HR for a fortune 500 company.  She said that clergy resumes confuse most in HR...the applicant has plenty of school, some even Dmins, but has experience in a field that the corporate world is not certain how those skills transfer to their setting.

Discussing secular career options with an experienced pastor is a conversation with a lot of dead-ends. 

I heard of an institute in one of the Carolinas(?) that helps clergy identify his/her gifts and skills as they consider career options...can anybody name what it is?   
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 03:15:21 AM »
There are professional career-counseling groups that help lots of people transfer from one career to another and see what skills, mindsets, and personalities suggest other trades.
I suppose I should thank God, some wise editors, and a college journalism professor who encouraged me to prepare for two separate vocations - journalism and the church - that I have thoroughly enjoyed, especially during the times when I was able to combine the two.

George Erdner

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 08:11:24 AM »
I've known a few ordained ministers who went into other careers/vocations. I've also known a few "tentmakers", including a pastor who supported himself as a financial planner while serving a parish.

Two ordained ministers I've known who didn't serve parishes were men I worked with when I was younger. One was Fred Rogers, aka "Mister Rogers", the other was Dennis Benson. Both were Presbyterian ministers. Rev. Benson creates a syndicated radio series called "Passages".

What Racin' Jason said about Fortune 500 companies ' HR departments is accurate. However, when you start looking in middle sized or small companies where there aren't as many layers of management specialization, you might have an easier time convincing someone that the skills of running a parish through gentle "influence management" are directly applicable to operating any organization. Management is management. Being able to juggle activities on a schedule so that all the details are handled, and doing it on a limited budget is valuable talent for any secular enterprise.

RevReit

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 10:34:17 AM »
I have been there, and came back again (which is a whole other story). 
My experience was that secular employers are wary of clergy types. I think that there is concern for the dynamics it creates in a work environment (and yes, it does create interesting dynamics in a secular work environment). Also because we are generalists rather than specialists we have experience in lots of areas, but often not a lot of depth.
That said, I have known clergy who, after a lot of networking, have successfully moved into Development work. I also know of a colleague in my area who moved into secular employment after picking up an MBA.
Finally know that wherever you go you will be starting back at the bottom of the ladder.

revklak

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 10:44:31 AM »
Bill,

Jerry offered to call you in a few days to talk.  I urge you to do so.  I know Jerry... trust him.  He'll be a good sounding board and insightful too. 

Just don't mention dripping candle wax into the baptismal font.....  :-X

Iowegian

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 10:57:54 AM »
Two ordained ministers I've known who didn't serve parishes were men I worked with when I was younger. One was Fred Rogers, aka "Mister Rogers"

As someone in his middle-30s who spent many a young childhood afternoon with Mister Rogers, I have to state that this is probably the neatest thing I've read on this board.   :)

Quote
What Racin' Jason said about Fortune 500 companies ' HR departments is accurate. However, when you start looking in middle sized or small companies where there aren't as many layers of management specialization, you might have an easier time convincing someone that the skills of running a parish through gentle "influence management" are directly applicable to operating any organization. Management is management. Being able to juggle activities on a schedule so that all the details are handled, and doing it on a limited budget is valuable talent for any secular enterprise.

My $.02:

1)  My advice regarding HR departments:  avoid them like the plague.  Find connections outside an HR department (you might have a few) and leverage their expertise/connections.  Large HR departments for large companies often use keyword scanning and *their* connections to fill positions.  In my experience this rarely results in the best employee - sometimes "right college degree with no drug use" isn't entirely what you're looking for.

2)  If you make a switch, do so with eyes wide open.  If you have ethical issues with what's going on with clergy, be aware that the work environments of many Fortune 500 companies are going to be much, much, much worse.

3)  Make sure you figure out what part of your current job does give you a feeling of fulfillment and leverage that - don't just "get a corporate job", because there can be nothing more spirit-destroying than being miserable for 8+hours a day.

4)  Oh, and if any employer ever, ever brings up "work/life balance" as part of an interview process.... run.  The "work/life balance" language usually means "we'll try to make sure you get at least Sunday morning with your kids..."

Pr. Jerry Kliner

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 11:10:04 AM »
Bill,

Jerry offered to call you in a few days to talk.  I urge you to do so.  I know Jerry... trust him.  He'll be a good sounding board and insightful too. 

Just don't mention dripping candle wax into the baptismal font.....  :-X

I don't remember the candle wax...  I remember not being happy when the re-tread class dumped goldfish into the font, I remember being extremely unhappy when someone (not you, Klak...) scorched the altar-top, I remember yelling at someone for being lazy in preparing their prayers (and then Ralph Querre yelled at me...), but I don't remember candle wax...

I'm a pussy-cat.  Really.

Oh, and Bill is a dear colleague of mine in the Synod...  We are friends and know each other.  But I appreciate the vote of confidence!

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:12:48 AM by Pr. Jerry Kliner »

janielou13

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 11:25:13 AM »
In a number of states, for both clinical and billing purposes, the BD and MDiv are considered mental  health degrees,,,,, whudda thunk, and can open one up to any number of careers in the field.

revklak

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 12:29:22 PM »
Bill,

Jerry offered to call you in a few days to talk.  I urge you to do so.  I know Jerry... trust him.  He'll be a good sounding board and insightful too. 

Just don't mention dripping candle wax into the baptismal font.....  :-X

I don't remember the candle wax...  I remember not being happy when the re-tread class dumped goldfish into the font, I remember being extremely unhappy when someone (not you, Klak...) scorched the altar-top, I remember yelling at someone for being lazy in preparing their prayers (and then Ralph Querre yelled at me...), but I don't remember candle wax...

I'm a pussy-cat.  Really.

Oh, and Bill is a dear colleague of mine in the Synod...  We are friends and know each other.  But I appreciate the vote of confidence!

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


It wasn't what someone did -- it was what someone supposedly said and taken all out of context -- forcing a full-class meeting where we were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the class because they couldn't legally "fire" the teacher.....   it was supposed to be a sign of unity for us to do that, that we loved and supported each other.

Pr. Jerry Kliner

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Re: Sacred to Secular Employment
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2009, 12:49:47 PM »
Bill,

Jerry offered to call you in a few days to talk.  I urge you to do so.  I know Jerry... trust him.  He'll be a good sounding board and insightful too. 

Just don't mention dripping candle wax into the baptismal font.....  :-X

I don't remember the candle wax...  I remember not being happy when the re-tread class dumped goldfish into the font, I remember being extremely unhappy when someone (not you, Klak...) scorched the altar-top, I remember yelling at someone for being lazy in preparing their prayers (and then Ralph Querre yelled at me...), but I don't remember candle wax...

I'm a pussy-cat.  Really.

Oh, and Bill is a dear colleague of mine in the Synod...  We are friends and know each other.  But I appreciate the vote of confidence!

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


It wasn't what someone did -- it was what someone supposedly said and taken all out of context -- forcing a full-class meeting where we were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the class because they couldn't legally "fire" the teacher.....   it was supposed to be a sign of unity for us to do that, that we loved and supported each other.

Oooooohhhhh...  That had NOTHING to do with me, but with the Rev. Dr. Paul Bosch who was the Interim Dean of the Chapel following Ralph Smith's death.  I wasn't even part of that class at that time (I was in my "first" middler year and so still with the Class of '98...).  Reportedly Dr. Bosch was giving a lecture to the junior worship class on the Easter Vigil, where he explained the symbolism of dipping the Paschal Candle in the Baptismal font, and one of the students got all offended and claimed that the lecture constituted sexual harassment.  I wasn't even part of, or welcome at, the meeting that you cite.

The worst and wackiest thing I ever heard from him was the claim that the Beetle's "Here Comes the Sun" was a good example of prolepsis and him pondering using it at Christmas Eve.  Bad taste, perhaps, but nowhere near offensive.  It was a complicated time (the class of '99 was never really favored by the faculty, the whole community hadn't gotten over Ralph Smith's death, lotsa crap going on at the 'Burg...).  I had forgotten all about that one...

Jeez, I thought you were going to bring up one of the times I was the "Sacristan from hell..." and took someone to task over something stupid.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS