Career Change for Pastors

So you're thinking career change for pastors. How hard can it be? You have a bachelor's or even master's degree. You are experienced working with people. You can solve problems, speak in front of people, organize volunteers and employees, and work well alone. Those are characteristics every boss is looking for... at least you'd think so.

I don't want to rain on your parade, but career change for pastors is not as easy as I think it should be. In fact, it's downright hard.

As a pastor you are used to leading. In your new career you will most likely start out following. As a pastor you organized things the way you thought best. In your new career your boss will arrange things without even considering your opinion. As a pastor you dealt with issues of eternal value. In your new career your boss will be far more interested in the bottom line at the end of the week.

Transitional Jobs

Career change for pastors is not something you want to "get through" as quickly as possible. The changes are so dramatic that I recommend you take some time to transition to your new career. This, of course, is not a simple process either. But by taking a transitional job you give yourself and your family time to make the adjustments to "normal" life.

I chose to do several short-term jobs as I was making my career change. They will not be right for everyone, but they should give you an idea of what you can do. The jobs listed below are ones either I had or jobs other former pastors I know had. Remember, career change for pastors is a long process. Take your time before jumping into something you don't enjoy.

  • Substitute teacher. Call the local school district and see what's required to be a substitute. Often all you need is a bachelor's degree.
  • Warehouse worker. Warehouse work is usually fairly simple in that you don't have to tax your brain very much. The tasks are clear cut so there's no wondering if you did it right. And the pay is usually a little more than you might expect.
  • Insurance sales. You can sell insurance without selling your soul. As a salesman you just need to make sure that you are as interested in your client's benefit as you are in your own. In most states all you need to do is take a couple classes and then take an exam.
  • Bus driver. This does get a little stressful at times. But if you're ok with loud kids, this might be the perfect transitional job since you only work a few hours a day.
  • Funeral Home. Funeral homes often love to hire pastors because of their familiarity with grief and death. They need people to do a variety of things like washing cars, being parking lot attendants, transporting bodies, driving the hearse, etc.
  • Manufacturing jobs. Depending on the setting, manufacturing jobs might pay better than most other jobs. Plus, you quite often will get insurance and other benefits. But be prepared to work.
  • Church janitor. It puts you in familiar territory and gives you a new perspective on church.
  • Chaplain. Hospitals, jails, hospice, and large businesses use chaplains. This could easily end up being a permanent job.
  • Sell cemetary plots. To do this job a person needs the ability to empathize with clients. Pastors are naturals at this type of interaction.
  • Internet business - this turned into a permanent part-time job for me. I currently make over $900 a month from my web business.

Career change for pastors is challenging. But it can also be rewarding. You'll typically find healing from the conflicts you faced at your church. You and your spouse can renew your relationship. And because you will probably be working fewer hours, you can spend more time with your children.

Don't get me wrong - career change for pastors will not be easy. But if you are deliberate and careful to choose a transitional job, you can emerge healed and ready to tackle your new career.

Are you sure that career change for pastors is right for you? Read this page to find out.

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