pecaspers: a Blog in transition

October 30, 2012

Prospective Pastor Questionnaire – Part 2

Filed under: Job Hunt,Ministry,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 9:47 PM
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2. What do you consider are the areas of your pastoral strengths? Your weaknesses?

I would say that I’m pretty strong at preaching, teaching, strategic planning, vision casting, serving in unnoticed ways, and keeping a close watch on my doctrine.

My weaknesses are that I need more practice in ongoing sermon preparation, I sometimes forget to deal with details in a timely manner because I’m looking too far ahead, I don’t always receive unsolicited criticism well, my humor is sometimes perceived as arrogance, and I lack discipline in how I order my time.

As far as ordering my time goes, I think this is largely due to the fact that my schedule is currently too flexible for my own good, and I’ve got too many irregular side jobs. I actually expect this to be less of a problem when I have more that needs doing on a regular basis. Much of my weakness comes from my relative youth in the ministry, but that also comes with a potential for greater things to come over the years yet available to me.

One more strength is that I’m pretty self-aware. Other than my wife, I really am my toughest critic. (That’s not a jab at my wife. She helps me see my blind-spots, and I am grateful to her for it, though not always immediately so–see weakness 3.) In fact, I’d list my wife among my pastoral strengths, too.

September 8, 2011

So the last time I posted was in March…

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 11:37 PM
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It’s been too long. I have shown a terrible lack of discipline in my posting. That’s kind of funny…no, not funny. That’s sad because I’ve been preaching the need for devotion and discipline to my youth for months now. A few people have told me they enjoy my writing (one is a man who reads dozens–if not hundreds–of books a year, so he would know what’s what when it comes to a good read), and this is a talent I need to cultivate if there is a chance that I might impart some blessing to my readers and glorify my God in it.

This blog isn’t the only place I write. I’ve had a couple of articles in the Tallassee Tribune‘s Religion section as a member of the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance. One of these days, I’ll post the original articles here–“original” meaning as they were written before I had to cut them down to 450-ish words. I’ve also done a little more writing on my vampire book. That’s right, it’s going to be a Christian vampire book. Let me disambiguate that: it’s going to be a novel about vampires from a Christian worldview; you cannot have a Christian vampire. Curious how that works? You’ll have to wait and read it when it comes out. Fine. If I can get a solid first chapter, then I’ll post it on here.

The vampire book is an idea that’s been rolling around in my head since the first Twilight movie came out. That’s were I keep far too much of my writing, in my head. I get some pretty great ideas and form some pretty amazing lines of thought/argument/reasoning, but then I get out of the shower, off the toilet, out of the bed, etc., and they’re gone. They come back to mind for more ruminating occasionally, but they get the full fleshing out of either pen or keyboard far too seldom.

And thus we have this post. This is that “I’ve been away for a while but now I’m back” that punctuates the blogs of we who let our blogs go fallow from time to time. My sister’s sister-in-law (which, in fact, does not make her my sister-in-law) has been posting a series of photographs with a little snippet of text on facebook* each day (I’m pretty sure she’s going for one a day) in September. That’s what made me think about hitting my blog again. I thought about waiting to start on October one, but waiting seemed quite self-defeating.

I’m shooting for one post a day. Prepare for some randomness, perhaps some full on stream of consciousness even. Let’s see how it goes.

*[You can put that squiggly, red line there all you want to, spell checker, but I’m not going to capitalize the “f” in facebook. If Zuckerberg wanted it capitalized, he would have capitalized it.]

March 15, 2011

In Memorium of Malachi Peterson-Caspers

Filed under: My Life in General,New Home — pecaspers @ 12:00 AM
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I sat down in my recliner and my cat didn’t come try to jump in my lap. That made me sad.

I went to the back bathroom a little while ago, and there’s not a litter box in there anymore. That made me sad.

I went into the nursery earlier and as I left it, I realized it didn’t matter anymore if I left that door open. That made me sad.

I swept the kitchen this afternoon, and now there is no more little bits of cat food in the corner, because there is no longer a food bowl there. That made me sad.

I put the body of my most constantly present and unconditionally loving friend, comforter, and confidant (except for the Holy Spirit of God) into the ground today. And that makes me sad.

But we do not mourn like those who have no hope! (1 Thessalonians 4:13) And we are blessed in our mourning because we shall be comforted! (Matthew 5:4) That gives me comfort.

Jessica, Peter, and I gathered in our back yard today to have a funeral for our beloved cat Malachi. If you find that strange, then I pity you for having such a small and hard heart. If you question the validity of a Christian funeral for a cat, then you need to keep reading because what follows is the essence of my message at the funeral, albeit more fully developed here.

God, in His Word, has not clearly revealed the eternal destiny of animals. In the beginning, when God made everything, He spoke animals into being and they were formed out of the ground (Genesis 1:24, 2:19). That is to say that they are made from the same dirt from which Man was made. The LORD did not breath into them his spirit, but he did put the breath of life into them. And everything that the LORD made was declared good; there was no sin, there was no death, all that God created was meant to last for all eternity. Man fell, and all creation was cursed, but in the beginning, even cats were meant to live forever.

Scripture is clear that though the animal kingdom has been placed under the authority of Man, all creatures belong ultimately to God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He feeds the ravens and the lions, He knows every time a sparrow lands on the ground (Psalm 50:10, Psalm 104:21, Psalm 147:9, Matthew 10:29). God displays His goodness and glory through the way he has made and provides for his creatures (Job 38-41, Matthew 6:26). Animals are part of God’s good creation and He cares for them, and this is clearly taught in Scripture.

Isaiah speaks of the new heavens and the new earth as having animals, re-created and living in peace just as God’s people are (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:17, 25). In Revelation 21:5 the Lamb of God calls out from His throne, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And so we might yet hope to see our beloved pets made new in the eternal Kingdom of God.

In this life, Malachi was a good kitty. He was well-behaved and well-loved, and he brought a great deal of happiness to our home. We are thankful to God for the gift of the time we had with Malachi. And he will live on in our memories if nowhere else. He is in no more pain. He died wrapped in a blanket he loved to sleep on, warmed by the morning sun, breathing fresh spring air, hearing birds sing, outside…and without anyone telling him to get back inside.

Now Malachi sleeps in death, and this is the way of all things. We were brought forth from the ground, and to the ground we return. But while I don’t know for certain if I will ever see my cat again, I do know for certain that my eternal destiny is clear. Jessica and I know that Jesus Christ has died on our behalf. Our bodies will one day “sleep,” but we will never truly die. THIS is our joy, that while we lay our kitty-friend to rest, we know that our own souls will one day loose these mortal coils and rise to be with Him who has already risen from the dead.

And we rejoiced at the amazing grace that God has given us. Then I placed my friend’s body in the ground, still wrapped in that blanket, with almost every appearance that he was merely curled up asleep in that cardboard box. And I covered the box with dirt, and I planted a tree over him. The tree came from the yard of our first home, and so now we will leave both a part of our first home and a part of our family here if/whenever God calls us away from this place. But like I said, this is the way of things. And we do not mourn like those who have no hope.

Do you have that same hope? Malachi does not bear the weight of moral responsibility like you and I do. While they have to endure the same curse placed on Man who was given authority over them, animals will not stand and be judged by God. Malachi will either be present in the new creation, or he won’t. You will rise and be judged, though. All fall short of God’s standard of perfection–all but God Himself, which is why the Son came to this earth as one of us. It’s why He lived a perfect life (a life you could not live), so that He could die as a perfect sacrifice (to pay completely a penalty you could not pay eternally). And that is why He rose from the dead, because He had paid it all, death could not hold Him. Death cannot hold you if your trust is all and only in the shed blood of Jesus. But if it’s not, then Death already has you. You are held morally responsible by God because you bear His image. You are not just an animal.

It will be a hard thing to get used to not having Malachi around. I think that’s what makes me so sad. I’ve really enjoyed his presence for the last almost three years. But life goes on, and we’ll get used to life without a cat now. So there’s the transition.

January 14, 2011

Job Hunt 2011

I need a new job. No, wait, I mean that I need another job.

Things have gotten far too tight around the Caspers house, financially speaking, so it’s time for Daddy to get another job. You might be wondering what sort of job I might be looking for, and if you are, then read on my friend. Read on.

1) Pharmacy Tech
What? Paul, you really want to count pills, stock shelves, double-check medicine bottle labels? No, not really. It’s not a dream scenario. I’ve already applied to the CVS in Tallassee because…well…they had a sign. Jobs are scarce around here, and the CVS would just about be in walking distance from my house. I could totally bike it if/when I fix my old bike. Anyway, it would put me serving the public, which is good. It would be good money without smelling funny when I get home (no deep fat fryers or beef patties involved). And CVS has pretty amazing employee discounts. I’d like being a pharm tech. I’d probably learn a ton that I’d be able to use in ways untold in the future.

2) Food Pantry Manager
Do wha…? The Elmore County Food Pantry needs somebody to…umm…manage things. They need somebody to work with the volunteers and serve those in need. Do you know who has a generous helping of the spiritual gift of service? The author of this blog, that’s who. I could really dig this one. BONUS: It’s a 30 hour-a-week position that would mostly be on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Therefore, never a “Mr. Caspers, we’re going to need you to come in on Sunday or you’re fired.” “I guess I’m fired then.” Also, it would be nice to know I’m helping others who are having even more trouble making ends meet than we are (and I don’t mean that in any sort of “At least I’m not as hard up as they are” kind of way because I’m about to be). I found this one tonight, I’ll apply tomorrow.

3) Daylight Donuts
Are you serious? There’s not one of those in Tallassee! Yet, my friend. There’s not one of those in Tallassee yet. See. According to the article at that link, they could be open by February or March. Yes, I do need a job sooner than that, but if I get in on the ground floor of the new location they’ll have to train me somewhere. So I figure I train in Auburn ASAP, help coordinate the installation of the new store–I even know where they should put it–and then I am one of the Assistant Managers who receives inventory and then works three other days a week. BONUS: Free left over donuts for the youth on Sunday. DOUBLE BONUS: Super-excellent place to meet with folks for discipleship since I’d be able to discount us both/all. This is the brass ring in my book. This is the Holy Grail of chubby part-time-youth-pastor-turned bi-vocational-youth-pastor jobs. (That would have all been one perfectly acceptable word in German, just so you know.) Our Mayor posted about this on his facebook page, I messaged him about getting their contact info, he said he’d get it to me on Monday, but Monday was all icy and stuff. I’ll message him again…DONE. (I love the fact that I live in a small town where anybody who wants to be can be facebook-friends with the mayor and that it’s actually him, it’s not just some staffer in his office posting stuff on his behalf.)

Pray for me in this. These are the big three. There is also the outside possibility that I could do freelance photography and/or writing for the area newspapers, but that’s a long shot seeing as I have no camera of my own to speak of and no professional writing experience. Slightly less outside–think in the front yard as opposed to out at Chewacla–is the possibility of getting on with one of the local radio stations. That could happen since I have a couple of years of on air host/production experience and a degree in communication (everyone assumes it’s the same as mass communication, who am I to judge?), but I get the feeling it’s unlikely.

Whatever comes of this, it’ll be something new–a definite transition.
And this puts me on track with my “at least one post per week” resolution for 2011. w00t!

October 19, 2010

Current Status of Change

Filed under: Baby,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 1:28 PM
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My son is now over two months old. He sleeps pretty well, only needing one middle of the night feeding on his best nights. That doesn’t necessarily mean Mommy and Daddy are sleeping well, but we do O.K. most nights. He’s growing well. He’s very long (would be tall, but he can’t stand yet) and rather slim, which is a bit surprising looking at his parents today. With his big blue eyes and lack of an abundance of hair, he looks a lot like me. I was hoping to put a beard on him for Halloween so that he would look like me, but we’ve been handed down an amazing lobster costume that we simply must use. He’s smiling and “talking” as well as growing more alert and able to focus on things at a distance every day. I love him. He is my son.

The leaves are starting to turn as they do every October. And just like every October, I’m a year older. Thirty, that’s a whole new decade. It’s not old. It seemed old last year. It looks old when I let my hair get long enough to see all the gray (or grey…whichever you like). It feels old when I go too quickly from rest to action. But as I was breaking a sweat working on my basketball and volleyball skills the other night after youth group, it didn’t feel that old–just a little out of practice. It seems old when I watch “reality” TV competitions and realize the contestants are mostly younger than me, but then I look around at the people I live around and worship with and realize more people are older than me than younger. I hope I’m not just getting older but actually growing more mature. There is some evidence for and against that hope, but I’ll not get into that here.

I’m learning how to play the guitar. I think the youth will engage in singing praises better if they are singing with live music rather than singing with songs from my laptop. It’ll also be easier to teach someone how to play specific songs if I know how to play them myself. It’s going pretty well…just slowly. I’m hoping it speeds up since I’ve found some helpful how-to videos on YouTube (what did people do before YouTube? …that’s right, we paid people to teach us stuff).

I need to mulch the fallen leaves into my grass. I need to get back to cleaning and organizing my study. I need to work harder and more passionately for my youth because they belong to Christ…or (in the case of some) so that they might belong to Christ. I need to get back to getting off my hindquarters and getting rid of much of the rest of my “quarters,” but that’s coming along, albeit slowly. So much is needed, but I’m glad to see the transition continue.

January 14, 2010

Speaking of transitions…

Filed under: Baby,Ministry,My Life in General,New Home,Youth Ministry — pecaspers @ 1:32 PM
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Much has happened since my last post.

I’ve really started to settle into my role as Youth Pastor. We’ve successfully had non-disastrous results at a few different events. In late December, my wife and I loaded the church van with 5 youth (4 girls, 1 guy) and went to Connect 2009 in Pigeon Forge, TN. The speakers were great; the musicians were excellent; our youth behaved predominantly well; good-times were had by all. This was a wonderful and wonderfully inexpensive youth conference, and it would have been worth it at twice the price. We’ve already got some stuff planned for the coming months and are working on getting things lined up for spring (especially Spring Break) and summer as well. I’ve also been given the opportunity to preach 3 times. The first two times went very well. I felt less than positive about my delivery of this most recent sermon after having only a few days (two of which I was also working taking graduation pictures) of lead time since Pastor David came down with bronchitis. Nevertheless, a number of people said they got a lot out of it, so I guess God is still in the business of using what we might reject as worthless for his grand purposes.

Jessica and I have been in the process of trying to buy a home in East Tallassee for months. We found the 2008-model, double-wide, manufactured home sitting on an acre of land which we are trying to purchase back in September, I think. We liked it when the Realtor showed it to us, and it was in far better condition and gave far more square feet per dollar than any of the houses we looked at. However, at that time, we didn’t think we could pull together the money to make it a reality. In November, things were looking better for us. Long story shortened: two potential buyers had fallen through and the home was still available. We paid our earnest money and started trying to get a loan. The first loan company wasted our time and got bought by another bank which wasn’t going to handle mobile home loans. One good thing our loan officer DID do for us was find us someone else who could help us. Our new loan agent is doing her best, but having more than a year between graduating from seminary and going on staff at Liberty is causing us all sorts of problems. On top of all the usual financial info they need (bank statements, tax records, etc.), we have now also supplied them with: a letter from Lakeview Baptist Church saying I’ve still been working (both paid and volunteer) with them since graduating; a letter from Liberty basically saying that I’m going to keep my job there; a letter each from me and Jessica explaining our recent work histories; a simple listing of each of my and Jessica’s recent work and education histories; an additional bank statement showing the check for our earnest money leaving our account; pictures/scanned copies of Jessica’s Auburn diploma, my Auburn diploma, my Southern Seminary diploma, and my certificate of ordination. At one point, we thought every time we got a call from this company we’d be hearing either a “yea” or “nay” on our loan. Now, we are just expecting to be asked for one more random thing. So we’re frustrated with this whole process. Still, I know that God has a reason for the delay. If nothing else, it has kept us from having to pay lot rent on our current home on top of a mortgage payment on our new one.

Another change, I’ve gotten a new car. Well, it’s new to me at least. Jessica’s mom got a for-real-new Hyundai Santa Fé, and they gave me her 1999 Toyota Solara. I’m totally grateful and thoroughly enjoy driving it. We were able to sell my 1992 GMC Jimmy for a whopping $800. I miss the Jimmy, but it made much more since to sell it than to keep it and have it rot from disuse and keep paying insurance on it.

I’ve saved the biggest change of all for last. We’re having a baby! Read more about it at babycaspers.blogspot.com. (WordPress faithful don’t hate. Jessica had it set up on Blogspot before I could stop her.) We go for her first official ultrasound tomorrow. I say official because one of the nurses at the women’s clinic where Jessica volunteers did one just for kicks and giggles last week. So yes, as Jessica said, I’m now part of “The Daddy Team.”

And the changes just keep on coming. Now if we can only find a buyer for this container we live in now.

September 1, 2009

Job Hunt: It Is Finished!

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 1:07 PM
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It Is Finished!

I’m hired. Or in Chirstianese, I’ve been called to a church. It’s been a long hunt, and now it’s over. On Sunday night August 30, 2009, Liberty Baptist Church in the Friendship Community of Tallassee, AL voted unanimously to call me, Paul E. Caspers, to be their new part-time youth pastor.

At 6:30ish, the pastor called to tell me. He even put me on speaker phone and held his phone up to the mic so I could thank the congregation. It was very surreal. …It still is a little bit. Now I have to figure out what to do.

They currently have one lady teaching on Wednesday night, another teaching on Sunday night, and a 21 year old guy (who has huge potential as a leader and will be both partner and mentoree) about to start teaching the youth Sunday School class.

The story of how all this came about is sort of interesting. A friend’s dad heard from his friend that Liberty was maybe thinking about possibly hiring a part-time youth minister. My friend’s dad called and asked me for my info to pass on to his friend. A few days later, that friend called me, and I sent him my resume. A couple of weeks after that, we arranged for Jessica and I to go have dinner with the friend and his wife. A few days later, they called back and arranged for us to have dinner and a talk with the whole youth committee and the pastor (Jess turned out not to able to make it because she was puking her guts out, but she insisted that I go). After that, we set the date for me to preach at the morning church service on Aug. 30, and to have some meet and greet time with the youth the Wednesday night before. Things went well that Wednesday night. Because of some technical difficulties and an extra song on Sunday morning, I went up to preach later than usual. Therefore, my only slightly (IMHO) too long 42 minute sermon didn’t end until 12:20–a solid 10-20 minutes over in Liberty-time. Still, the majority of people told me they enjoyed the sermon, and nobody said anything negative to me at all. Plus, they all voted for me that night, like I said. The other angle on this story is that there was another guy whose name and info came to the church at the same time mine did, but his wife got pregnant and they needed to be somewhere full-time because of it.

You can help me out by lifting me up in prayer, because I’ve rarely felt so at a loss for what to do as I do now. I don’t want to go in and rearrange everything, but they’ve hired me to lead and to me that means (among many other things) both teaching and planning stuff. They’ve been doing all their planning by committee (with little success at making much happen, as it’s been reported to me), so THAT should be a relatively easy thing to take over. But, like I said, they have 3 people teaching already…4 if you count the pastor’s wife who does a missions focus night once a month. Not that I expect any major struggle, because thus far the support for me coming has been so univocal.

The first major hurdle for me is just going to be learning everyone’s name. God help me. God help us all.

August 5, 2009

What’s in a Name?: A Blog in Transition

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 12:17 AM
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What’s in a name? If you are wondering why my blog is entitled “A Blog in Transition,” then 1) I hope you are only wondering about it as a way of taking a break from pondering much greater things, and 2) You are about to have your curiosities satisfied.

In part, the reason is very simple. I had to call it something. The default was “Just another WordPress blog.” Now, I don’t usually strive for impressive labels, but that was far too bland a thing to be. Nobody wants to be “just another” anything. It’s not even self-debasing; that would be something. To call it “Thoroughly Average and Uninteresting” would have earned more style points. It had to be something more than the default, so it became “A Blog in Transition.”

I almost said, “it ended up…” but that’s not right. Actully, that’s just the point. It hasn’t ended up anything. It really is in transition. The name will potentially change, so in that sense the name fits for now.

It’s early in this blog’s life, and I’m not entirely sure what will become of it. Things being what they are right now, you may have noticed posting has been somewhat irregular. My schedule is irregular, and we don’t pay for internet at The Container. If/When I get a job and/or we move, I hope things will get a bit more consistent. For the time being, my blog–like myself–is in a state of transition.

Of course, There is also a sense in which this blog will always be “A Blog in Transition.” “In” in the sense of transition is the topic of the blog, rather than the condition of the blog. (English is a fun language.) Life is a transition, and my transit through life, or the transit of my life, will obviously come out in the writings found here.

It’s good for me to remember that life is a transition. At times, I think I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking, “When I get a real job, then I’ll have arrived.” That isn’t any more true than it was of getting married, graduation (any of the three), or any other of the host of things I–and all of you too, if your honest–have looked or am looking forward to. This kind of reminder helps to shake off some of the effects of what I call spiritual inertia. (Side note:Spiritual inertia is that force that tends you toward doing the same things you’ve always done in spite of the fact that you know there is more–or in some cases less–that you ought to be doing regarding spiritual discipline. [Side-Side note: Spiritual friction is that force that tends you to regress on the progress you have made in spiritual discipline until all growth stops and you barely resemble a Christ-follower. Maybe I’ll blog more about this in a later post.]

Where this idea comes into play here is that when we look ahead and see some milestone approaching–the certainty or uncertainty matters not–we tend to push things to the other side of it. Hey, I know I’ve done it. Try this, have you ever said, to yourself or to someone else: “I know I should ________, but when _________ then I’ll _________ for sure”? The point is, apply this to yourself as you will, I won’t instantly become more godly or disciplined or organized by virtue of having a job.

In fact, there will be one more thing to deal with. Well, in my case it might actually make for a net loss in things to deal with: a real job means the bills get paid without late-night Village Photographers events or all-day and/or night spent working for EOG on gamedays. However, the time investment into whatever is next will surely be more substantial than whatever gets dropped. I used to think I was busy in college. I really was busy in seminary (under-employment is way easier than seminary), but I still had enough free time to stay sane and find a wife. I’m sure life will get busier wherever God leads me next. And I’m even more certain that it’ll get WAY busier when c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n enter the picture (which I’m totally looking forward to, don’t get me wrong).

I guess all this has been to say that I know things are going to be changing soon. And more than that, I realize that things will constantly be changing throughout life. Someone once said, “The only constant is change.” (Google it if you’re curious, inform the rest of us if you do.) He was close. The Most High God is also a constant. As I’m thinking about what’s to come, a Scripture verse comes to mind. “Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but it is the Lord who directs his steps.” It’s somewhere in the wisdom literature; I’d look it up, but I haven’t re-installed E-Sword yet and it’s not worth it to go track it down the old fashioned way.

Whatever transitions God has in store for you, I hope you meet them well with, by, and in His grace.

July 2, 2009

Ministry Job Hunting

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 7:21 PM
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(This post must be read with a smile on your face. If you aren’t smiling, then you will read it in the wrong tone.)

Most of May and June were spent taking pictures at graduations around AL and GA. In June I spent a week in IN building a church building with Carpenters for Christ, then a week getting ready for Vacation Bible School, then a week working VBS, and finally most of last week I was preparing for a sermon I preached this past Sunday. At long last, this week has been largely spent job hunting.

I hate to even call it that, “job hunting,” but I don’t want to confuse people or hyper-spiritualize it by calling it something like “potential place of ministry research.” It’s a funny thing though; I’m willing to use a good, easily understood secular term like “job hunting,” but I shudder at job posts that read as though a church is looking for a business manager rather than a spiritual leader. Too often for my sensibilities churches list as the qualifications something like this: “motivated, self-starter, strong administrator, organized, multitasker.” Those are great, but ultimately unhelpful since nobody–in business or ministry–is looking for an apathetic and sloppy slacker who needs to be watched like a hawk and never finishes what he starts. Yes, I appreciate that there is some commonality in the two job markets. There is a difference though, isn’t there? Shouldn’t there be?

As a Southern Baptist, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between looking for a ministry position and looking for a secular job. We have job search sites, emails with interview tips, and all of the other useful tools for finding employment as there are for secular career seekers. I regularly check the classified ads in a number of Baptist papers, online of course, looking for possible leads. (My favorites are the ones where the church obviously can’t afford more than the minimum words in the ad so it reads like this: “FBC Somewhere is prayerfully seeking pastor. Send resume to 101 Co Rd 777, Somewhere, AL,” and they leave you knowing NOTHING about the church. Also, these churches almost never have up-to-date websites where you can learn more about them. I’m sure I’m not walking close enough with the Spirit to hear Him calling me to a place based solely on an address. But I digress.)

I regularly cruise through the postings on the SBC website as well as those posted with the Ministry Resources department of The Southern Baptist Seminary. These are usually pretty informative; I assume they don’t charge by the word to be in these. In these postings, the job description or qualifications often include some reference to the biblical qualifications for a pastor/elder. And this gets to the part where I think I’m a complete hypocrite, because seeing that in a job posting seems ridiculous to me too. Oh, really, your church is looking for someone who is spiritually mature, faithful to his wife, and doesn’t dabble in the dark arts? That’s good to know.

Most churches seem to be looking for someone with 3-5 years (or more) of experience in the same type of position at a church of the same size. What really gets to me are the relatively small churches that say they are looking for someone with two to five years of experience in a man who won’t consider their church as a stepping stone to somewhere bigger. I know what they mean; they mean they are looking for someone who will stick around. But don’t they see? They are asking for someone to leave wherever he got his experience and treat that place as a stepping stone up into their church? People need to decide if staff moving from one church to another is something they approve of or not.

I also take issue with the idea that a person MUST be specifically called to an age group (or even place or people group) to work with said age (etc.) group. Can’t a guy who is called to build up God’s church do that just as well with youth as he can with adults? I understand that for far too long youth ministry really has been seen as merely a stepping stone into something “better,” and that is a tragedy. And I know that God apparently does call and gift people to work specifically with youth (or senior adults, or West Africans, or post-modern twenty-somethings, or whatever). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a guy called and gifted to teach and equip God’s people can’t or shouldn’t minister among God’s young (or whatever) people.

But now it just sounds like I’m ranting. Hmm… I suppose that I have been ranting to a degree. Let’s turn a corner.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s frustrating. And I’ve had a number of people respond to the very mention of the word “frustrated” as though it were another F-word. God tells us in His Word not to worry, not to be anxious, never once does He tell us that we can’t or won’t feel frustrated. I’m not anxious. I don’t lose any sleep over not having a place of vocational service. I do not worry about it. I know that God has a perfect plan and His timing is better than mine. I am waiting, as patiently as He has enabled me. (And sometimes too patiently for my wife’s taste.) And still, I can feel the schemes of the Adversary and the pressure to conform to the ways of this world FRUSTRATING my search.

So maybe it’s a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word. I mean only to say that I can tell that there are forces at work against me and that it wears on me. God is my Rock and my Refuge and a very present Help in times of trouble. I’ll be in trouble if I stop resting on him and start focusing on the frustration, but I’m not there now. In fact, I haven’t gotten to that point very much at all.

Here I am waiting on the Lord’s good and perfect timing. Watching (that is to say, job hunting) and waiting.

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