Jobs in ministry today used to be fairly defined. A person who sensed a call to vocational ministry could aspire to be a pastor, education minister, youth pastor, music minister, missionary, or a Christian schoolteacher. As time progressed and churches grew, new titles were added to the opportunity list, such as children’s minister, associate pastor, or in a large church, a person might become a pastor of administration.
Everything has changed. Now a person who senses a call to vocational ministry has a huge range of choices available.
Here’s a list of what was listed recently on ChurchStaffing.com:
1. Teaching Pastor
2. Innovative Pastor
3. Creative Arts Director
4. Technical Pastor
5. Assimilation Pastor
6. Family Minister
7. Executive Pastor
8. Discipleship Pastor
9. Director of Modern Worship and Arts
10. Creative media specialist
11. Programming and Production Director
12. Mission planning director
13. Multi-site campus pastor
14. Missions team leader
15. Community groups pastor
I think there are three primary reasons for the wide range of career jobs in ministry today:
1. The rise of Para church ministries
2. Churches trying to better match gifting and passion.
3. Changing needs of the church and culture.
Ministry jobs of the future will be more focused to people’s needs and people’s gifts and abilities, than tradition or seminary training. Ministers will have more of an opportunity to write their own job description. (This is especially good news to introverts, since there are now very successful career choices completely behind the scene. Look at the work of author and blogger Anne Jackson who is making a huge impact mostly from behind her computer.)
My advice to those just starting in ministry. Tear down the traditional career ladder model of ministry advancement. Decide what God has gifted you to do and how that matches the needs of the local church or the Kingdom. Then don’t look for the career choice, look for the assignment God has for you at the time.
Your career path may never look like what you thought it would, but it will probably better match the path God has for your life and the ministry he has for you to do.