Moving on in ministry can be a complex transition as you try to reconcile the call to a new role with the realities of daily ministry, family life and your own hopes and aspirations.
Recent research found that for those people called to the work of ministry, certain factors can make a career-related move more challenging than for people working in secular settings. These factors include:
- Developing the skills to research job opportunities in an institution where most moves are lateral.
- Managing and maintaining perspective when, despite feeling called to a particular post, your application is unsuccessful.
- When you are being called to a role or place that does not fit with who you are and how you want to work.
- Looking ahead to negotiating afresh the boundary between professional and personal relationships in a new place.
- Holding in balance practical considerations such as a partner’s job, children’s schooling or ageing relatives whilst feeling deeply called to a type of work or particular post.
- Understanding how to engage with a competitive recruitment process.
In a career counselling session, these and other issues are addressed by asking three questions:
Who am I? Where am I heading? How do I get there?
By exploring your sense of calling from its early origins and development over time, it is possible to identify and articulate patterns of thinking and behaviour that address these questions and provide some of the answers such as:
- What it is you need to thrive
- What the future looks like
- How the system works
- How to stay resilient
Comments from clergy who have undertaken career counselling state that ‘it helped me approach my own strengths again, and renewed my confidence in what God might do in and through me’ and that the process supported them to realistically analyse what they could offer and what would enable them to thrive.
Career counselling in ministry is a process that will provide you with structured and sustained support as you reflect on these career-related questions and concerns, and help you take practical steps to engage with the process and tasks of moving on.
Dr Christine Blackie is a career counsellor working with individual clergy and church leaders responsible for clergy development. Find out more at www.christineblackie.com