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.

Leaving a Denomination with Honor


This may be the worst denominational logo ever.

Jason Stellman recently left the Presbyterian Church in America, a conservative, Reformed denomination that is the home to the likes of Tim Keller, R.C. SproulTullian Tchividjian. Stellman was an ordained clergyman in the denomination who, from the looks of his resignation letter, took his ordination vows very seriously.

He left, he writes, because of two growing and gnawing doubts. The first:

I have begun to doubt whether the Bible alone can be said to be our only infallible authority for faith and practice, and despite my efforts (and those of others) to dispel these doubts, they have only become more pronounced. In my own reading of the New Testament, the believer is never instructed to consult Scripture alone in order to adjudicate disputes or determine matters of doctrine (one obvious reason for this is that the early church existed at a time when the 27-book New Testament had either not been begun, completed, or recognized as canonical).

And the second:

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Cornerstone Folds, Wild Goose Soars

An afternoon of Beer 'N' Hymns rocks the Beer Tent at the Wild Goose Festival at Shakori Hills in North Carolina June 24, 2011. Credit: RNS photo by Courtney Perry

Greg Horton of the Religion News Service looks for a shift in the wind with the demise of Cornerstone, the venerable music festival put on the by Jesus People (USA) and the birth of Wild Goose, where many of my friends are gathered this weekend:

(RNS) Demon Hunter. Vengeance Rising. Payable on Death.

Since 1984, these and other Christian heavy metal bands have been congregating every summer in a field near Chicago for the Cornerstone Festival. And for much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was the place for Christian thrash metal, death metal, or any other metal bands to generate a following.

Cornerstone provided the venue — and for several years, as many as 20,000 fans — to help these bands gain traction in a faith community more often associated with pop praise music.

Financial troubles will make this summer’s July 2-7 gathering the last for the venerable festival, the oldest Christian music and arts festival in the U.S. Only Greenbelt, the British festival from which Cornerstone emerged, has been around longer.

Yet as Cornerstone says goodbye, a young upstart festival is doubling its size in only its second year.

The Wild Goose Festival also owes its origins to Greenbelt, but the ethos and theology are radically different than Cornerstone’s. The first Wild Goose met at Shakori Hills, N.C., a 72-acre wilderness and campground 20 minutes from Chapel Hill.

read the rest: Religion News Service | Culture | Entertainment & Pop Culture | As Cornerstone wraps up, Wild Goose Festival takes off.

What Seminary Education Ought To Be [Part Five]

This = class break. (Photo by Courtney Perry)

Finally, this: where one studies should be consonant with what one studies.

Last week, we were studying the doctrine of creation and its relationship to Christian spirituality. It seemed to me downright silly to study the doctrine of creation where I did, in a classroom.

I get that there’s a certain efficiency to gathering hundreds of students on a campus and having a centralized factory of learning. It’s got a bit of Henry Ford to it. And maybe the type of theological education that I’m proposing is eminently impractical — maybe it would be way too expensive.

But it seems to me that with the innovations in technology and transportation of the last hundred years, there are all sorts of possibilities for studying theology, the Bible, church history, and ministry leadership in spots that fit hand-in-glove with the subject matter.

I took a chance in nature, challenging the students to live for four days in the most primitive wilderness in the continental U.S. They bested that challenge easily. That success has only put wind in my sails for

Where would you like to study theology?

Part OnePart TwoPart Three | Part Four | Part Five