Job Title: Minister
Type of Company: I work for a mainline Protestant church in suburban Boston.
Education: BA, Elementary Education and Biology Masters, Divinity
Previous Experience: I was a campus minister and associate director of the campus ministry at a west coast Catholic university. Also, I was a minister in a couple churches, as well as a school teacher in a public middle school.
Job Tasks: My primary role is to coordinate and lead the ministries to children, youth, and their families. This means offering pastoral care and counseling, planning events and programs for all ages (from parenting classes and family events to youth service trips and evening events), planning and leading worship, teaching confirmation classes, and creating and leading children's worship services. I also work with various committees to formulate and implement ideas.
Most days include answering lots of emails and a few phone calls, working on curriculum and event ideas, preparing for programs and lessons that I'm leading, and attending a variety of meetings with other church members and staff. Days should include more time to meet with students and families one-on-one.
There are many other things that are part of the job: preparing and leading funerals (and working with families to plan the services); helping plan worship services on Sundays and often writing prayers or sermons for the services; making sure that we have enough teachers for the various Sunday School classes -- to name just a few.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Having a chance to be with people in some of the most emotionally-charged moments of their lives is a great gift (at times of death, birth and baptism, weddings, rites of passage, etc.). I enjoy being with people, and there are many opportunities to do this.
One of the worst parts of the job is that there are many, many bosses when you work in a church, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Hence, it always seems like someone has a complaint or a suggestion on how you can do something better.
1. Be sure that this is something you're passionate about doing. I had a mentor who said, "Don't be a minister if you can do anything else." Basically, it's both really hard and really rewarding, but the really hard part can sometimes be overwhelming.
2. When getting the schooling you'll need, choose a school that will stretch and test your beliefs, because people will always be challenging what you believe.
3. Make sure to make time for yourself. Being a minister can be a 7-day-a-week job, twenty-four hours a day, if you let it.
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