"50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years" Source:http://bit.ly/P0xY2O
After 3.5 years as a Senior Minister and a year as a youth minister, I am out of paid vocational ministry. It isn't because I lost my faith. It isn't because I made a decision to jeopardize my family/church. I still love the Gospel and His church. I still love studying the Bible and talking about the impact of my actions on the Church. I'm still a minister in a sense and still desire to be an overseer (1 Tim 3). At this time however, my vocation has to look a little different.
What happened? First, I became a Dad for starters. While being a pastor allowed me more home time, it wasn't quality time. I was constantly distracted. The same is true with me as a pastor; I was constantly distracted. I had to be bi-vocational so that took up time. I felt I was letting some things slip that I was called to as a pastor. The Church wasn't putting any pressure on me to it but I felt I needed to do these things to care for souls.
Second, I came to enjoy the college process. I've always enjoyed helping people get educated. Being a tutor, long term sub in a vocational school and other such roles reminded me how much I loved process. So if pastoring wasn't my calling, maybe this was it. After sending out some resumes on a whim, I was brought in for an interview to be an academic advivor. As the job was described, I felt like it was a fit. They offered me a job and thus, my new vocation. (See Gene Vieth's book God at Work to see more about this).
Lastly, I'm a city boy. I understand people in the city. But more importantly, the city has more of an intellectual bent. I'm a thinker and love intellectually stimulating conversation. The rural community does not have the same focus. While I was trying not to use big words and trying to "contextualize" my message , I would often slip and probably alienate the people I was trying to reach. I don't know of know of any other way.
So now I'm looking for a new church home. For a pastor, that will be extremely difficult.