Leaving...I'm done...but now what?


(Louisiana)

I have been in worship/music ministry since college...almost 30 yrs ago. I have served on church staff for 20 of those years. My skin is not thick anymore, I struggle with depression at the hint of any criticism, my marriage has floundered as I've gotten trapped in moral failure (not within the church), I've served under an unhealthy pastor for the past 11 years. My wife and I have been going to counseling for the past two years, and things are healing on that front, but each counselor (we both have individual counselors and also a couples counselor) has encouraged me to get out of ministry, and my wife and I have felt that for some time now, even before they suggested it.

So that deal is sealed. I've already told my pastor and we're in the process of telling individuals and will announce to the entire church this week.

I know this is the right move, but I have consuming fear about what I will do to support my family. We will have enough cash on hand to make it for a couple of months, then after that I have retirement that I can start drawing from.

But what does a 50 yr old guy do, when all he's done is lead worship and direct choirs? I only have a bachelor's degree. I am scared to death.

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You Got This
by: Anonymous

So, I hope I am not replying to this too late. I recently left congregational life to pursue a life outside of the local parish. It was risky, but a great decision. If you haven't jumped already, don't quit yet. The reason I say is that it can take a while to get a new good. The current job can support you as you find something new. But, my guess is that at this point, you've already left. This puts the pressure on to find the first thing that comes to you.
I think the best way I've thought about how I can profit from my experience is in the realm of relationship building. This is instrumental in fields like fundraising (rising profession), sales, teaching, and non-profit work.
I went back to school, got some credentials, and now I had five job leads in the last two weeks. The only reason I didn't take them is because they didn't pay as well as the great job I have now.
All of this is to say, I think you will be much happier in a year with a competitive salary and work situation. I would love to see what churches would do if they had an HR department to protect you:-)

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