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My search for a youth ministry position and our future

Schmoyer familyThe past several months have been very formative for me and my wife. We feel like we’ve been in a holding pattern of listening to God for what He has next for us and, in some ways, we are still in that holding pattern, but I think we’re becoming more content with waiting.

As I blogged about in last Monday’s Time Out on Isaiah 40:31, waiting on God doesn’t mean we sit passively waiting for Him to do something, but rather it means waiting on God like someone waits on tables. A “waiter” is someone who serves. It’s active, not passive.

So here we are, 7 months after being fired from our youth ministry position, and while we’ve both worked through the forgiveness issues from our past experience, I have yet to accept a position at a church somewhere else.

Two weeks ago I came to the point where I really needed some clear direction and vision from God. Thankfully God has continued to financially provide for all our needs, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous that it would continue forever. The career and ministry options I was thinking in my head just weren’t adding up to how I feel God’s wired me.

Although I’m frequently contacted through my seminary’s placement office by churches who are hiring a youth pastor, they’re all typical churches searching for basically the same thing, something that doesn’t feel like it’s what God intends for me and His bride.

But I’m still completely passionate about youth ministry and I love volunteering with the youth ministry at our new church. If I could volunteer full-time, that’d be awesome… except my family and I like to eat. So what do I do? Go get a retail job or settle with a typical church ministry job I know I can do?

I decided to take a week to focus on seeking begging God for direction, to pray, to fast, to hear wisdom from others I trust, to read His Word and several career books that help me understand how God’s shaped me for His kingdom work. While I didn’t get a 20-year plan from God about what’s next for me and my family, I feel like God did honor my request and gave me a couple “next steps” to follow obediently. As I do so, I trust He’ll make additional steps clearer.

In no particular order, those things are:

  • For now, turn Life In Student Ministry and other web projects (like MinistryWebsites.biz, MinistryQuestions.com, vlogging, Youth Questions, speaking and consulting into my full-time job. I feel like the Lord gave me a pile of ideas during my prayer times to pursue with each of these projects that will easily consume full-time hours for a very long time, including an idea for a new site that I’ll be launching next week. The tension for me is that Life In Student Ministry has proven to be an unpredictable source of income that won’t support a family, but yet I plan to head that direction obediently anyway.
  • I’ve had an idea for book in my head for a while and I feel like God wants me to sit down and crank it out. Honestly, I’m dragging my feet writing this book for some reason, but I need to do it in obedience because I think writing on this topic will force me to think through some things I need to have clear in my mind for whatever’s next.
  • I think serving as a full-time youth pastor in a church context is somewhere in my future, but it won’t be in a traditional church with a typical set of values and expectations. Nor do I feel that this next church will connect with me through a traditional resume/interview/candidating approach because that search method alone communicates something about the church. I feel it will be more organic than that, probably through personal relationships and connections within the next 3 months to 3 years.
  • In the meantime, I’m to volunteer as a youth leader, investing into teens and families and serving the youth pastor at our church the best I can.

Honestly, I’m a bit nervous about this because these are some faith steps for me that involve some risk. Why pour into projects that were formerly just hobbies and have a poor history of generating a sufficient income? Why write a book I’m not sure how to write? Can it even be credible? And what if I’m wrong about being a youth pastor again? What if my antennas are searching for the wrong signal?

I don’t mind risk, in fact it usually energizes me, except that these risks directly effect those closest to me: my wife and two children.

So please pray for me. Pray for our future. Pray that I clearly hear God’s leading and follow Him obediently in it. Pray that He continues to provide for us. Pray especially that He will ultimately be glorified in all our struggles and searching. And pray for us over the next several months (even years if you’re up to it)!

Please and thank you.


Posted on July 21, 2011

  • Claudette

    Faith Step are often scary because they take us beyond our comfort zone, but once you see how God responds to these steps… It's totally awesome. We have pastored for years in a smaller church with no salary. My husband worked full time and pastored, but one day we just knew God was leading him into full time ministry and so he left working full time and now pastors full time. It's amazing how God always meets our needs. I know he will do the same for you and your family. By the way I love the family picture. God bless! Thanks for being a blessing to my family!

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Did you guys work secular jobs to support full-time ministry? Did you raise support?

  • http://morethanredink.yolasite.com/ Donna Y

    Praying! Are you sharing the topic of the next book?

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Not yet. I've written the table of contents and that's about it. Not sure if I'll publish it as a book or release it as an ebook either. Finishing up another ebook first then I'll start working on this other book some more.

  • cbw9962

    Tim,

    I will definitely pray for you! I am too in the exact position and I do mean the exact position…I resigned (was fired) last August. After posting here a week or so ago, I realized that I had not dealt with the forgivenesss aspect of our situation and was reminded today that I need to really focus there first. So, I apologize for any negative or off-based discussion before, it comes from a hurting heart that hasn't allowed God to heal it yet. I too feel the same way about never working in a traditionally structured church again. I think we have lost our relatability with the culture with how churches are traditionally structured because of the limits it imposes on ministers. Thanks for this post, it really opened my eyes a bit.

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Yeah, forgiveness takes a while and it's a continual process. Totally understand how you feel.

  • http://www.youthleadersacademy.com Rachel Blom

    I'm praying God will show you His will. I can so imagine how scary this must all be…what is in your heart sounds like a God-sized plan instead of a man-sized one. The former are usually the best, but man are they scary…

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Yeah. Usually risk like this is really exciting and motivates me, but this is the first real time it can potentially have a negative affect on my family, so it feels a lot more solemn now instead of invigorating.

  • http://www.terracecrawford.com Terrace Crawford

    Tim, I'm praying for you, friend. If I can be supportive in some other way please let me know. God has great present (and future!) plans for you.

    //TC//

  • http://www.garthaziz.wordpress.com Garth Aziz

    I have regularly visited various sites and blogs over the past year, and then somehow I clicked on your post today. And WOW! I just read my entire experience through this blog. It’s amazing that God does not allow us to travel through experiences in isolation and I do not wish to trivialize or minimize your experience or struggles.

    I have been in youth ministry now for more than 16 years in Cape Town South Africa. The first few years after seminary have been in voluntary ministry but now for the past three years have been a youth pastor at a church. My ministry at this particular church also ended with me being forced out of my ministry and while I have sought help from God to forgive, which I believe I have, I still struggle through these emotions.

    I have been married now for just over 6 months and being a man, the responsibility rests heavily upon me to meet the traditional role of providing, though I am grateful to God for supplying through her vocation. But the struggles for financial need is great.

    I too have declined calls to the youth pastorate at traditional churches as I feel that God is calling me to a different aspect of youth ministry. At this point I began blogging at which I am relatively new and have tried my hand at a website which has remained down (not sure if I have the touch for that – but have sought help with it). I still volunteer at churches where I visit or where I can, but I long for something deeper to connect with.

    I too have been struggling with a book that I am convicted to write and like you do not know if I am even able to hold a pen properly and whether there would be any credibility in what I would write. It’s a numbing feeling.

    I also come from a background in retail and am struggling with the opinion if I should return or not. I have faith in God but believe I have to be responsible in assisting at home and easing the burden of my wife.

    So… while our situations are different, I experienced such alot of similarities in it. Your post had God’s whisper in my ear to say that he knows and I will be ok. So, where to from here?

    I am still seeking that answer from God with all that I have…

    Garth

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