What To Do After You Leave the Ministry?

David Hayward — the “Naked Pastor” — has some advice, and it’s good. A struggling church planter recently told me, “I have no marketable skills.” She felt that nothing she learned in seminary was transferable to any other vocation. David begs to differ. Among his pieces of advice is self-employment:

Self-employment: Many of the pastors I know have some kind of skill. The few times I have been without a church I have applied my own skills. One time I was a full time artist. I learned the meaning of the term “starving artist” during that year. I also learned carpentry and did renovation work. Another time I had some extra cash and bought a dump of a house cheap and renovated it and sold it. I didn’t get rich but I lived and supported my family for a year. Being self-employed in these ways were nice ways to heal without being under the thumb of another boss.

read the rest of his advice: vocational advice for ex-pastors | nakedpastor.

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  • I took leave after a 5 year stint in Japan as a pastor and discovered that I could be a poor writer/photographer fairly easily. I freelanced 6 months then I went to work for a small town newspaper. That led me to a non-profit and I worked there until I discovered I could work at a community college. I am headed back to the church next month with a whole new set of skills.

  • Thanks Tony for mentioning my post. This is something I really care about. I’m glad others do as well. (david)

  • Jake Enns

    The most common strength that pastors have when they leave the ministry but are not retired is their interpersonal strengths. This skill is very highly sought out in almost all fields. This strength is often underestimated by the former pastor. If you can lead, or even simply live through leading a congregation you have many strengths that business can use.

    In my personal case I also had IT skills. I went back to school for a year to get many tech certifications and even as a Network Technologist I use my interpersonal skills even more than my tech skills and my supervisors recognize that this skill is much harder to learn than the technical skills.

    Be encouraged, ex-pastor you are very employable!!