The Clergy Project Will Soon Offer Training to Help Ex-Pastors Find New Careers

We know there are pastors who preach for living… but don’t really believe everything they say. So why keep doing it? Because admitting that God doesn’t exist is only half the battle. You also have to figure out what you’re going to do for a living when all your professional training has led to a job in the ministry.

Now, the Clergy Project is announcing a huge step forward in making the transition from pastor-to-damn-near-anything-else a little easier:

The Clergy Project is proud to announce the addition of the RiseSmart [Transition] Assistance program, thanks to a generous grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. This vital resource will allow clergypersons who are trying to transition from the ministry to secular employment in a more secure manner.

Todd Stiefel, founder and President of Stiefel Freethought Foundation said, “With this donation, my foundation hopes to help formerly-religious clergy find secular employment. These clergy men and women will no longer have to put the priority of feeding their family above their desire to stop preaching what they no longer believe.” Stiefel continued, “Additionally, this is an investment in the next great leaders of the freethought movement because of the incredible skills such as community building, support, and management that these clergypersons bring with them.”

This project will provide crucial support to Clergy Project Members leaving active ministry. The program, offered by RiseSmart, will provide 6 months of assistance including, skills assessment, resume prep and connection with a recruiter in their area to help them to find sustainable employment.

Dan Barker, President of the Clergy Project board said, “I wish there had been a service like this when I left the ministry in the 1980s. I spent a long time floundering, searching for a way to make a meaningful living as a nonbeliever. Eventually, we all have to solve the problems of life on our own, but just knowing there are resources from sympathetic organizations can be immensely helpful.”

This is a project that has been in the works for several months now. The $100,000 fund provided by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation will help an untold number of ex-pastors (based on need, a completed application, and passing through a screening process) and by the time that funding runs out, there will hopefully be more revenue streams to keep this project going.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.