I am currently in the process of trying to find my first full-time student pastor position. I just finished my BA from Piedmont International University and currently on staff at Weymouth Community Church in Medina, OH as a pastoral intern until a full-time job opens up. I have been job searching for about four five months now and the process is long, hard, and sometimes down right discouraging. Recently someone posted in a Youth Pastor’s Facebook group that they have been search for over a year! If you’re not careful you can become easily discouraged and impatient when looking for a student pastor job. But I believe this time periods holds a lot of good opportunities for us and things we can do that will help us find that perfect student pastor job. Here are three of them:
1. Connect with pastors. The main thing you should be doing while looking for a student pastor job is connecting with pastors, student pastors, and others in full-time ministry. Connecting with pastors is a way to get your name out there and also is a great source of encouragement during this time. In today’s world, at least for church jobs, the best way to find a job is not looking through all the job sites, but getting out there and connecting with other pastors and student pastors. They know what churches are looking and usually they will connect you with those churches that are looking. Knowing people and having a ton of connections is the best way to find a student pastor job so send out e-mails to area pastors, have lunch with other student pastors, and spend time connecting with others in full-time ministry around you.
2. Focus on your own spiritual growth. I believe one of the reasons God has us wait on things in life is because we are not ready for what He has in store. Maybe one of the reasons you are having to wait for a student pastor jobs is because God knows you’re not totally ready to be a student pastor. God may have things to teach you and areas He wants you to work on first. During this time, spend as much time as possible in God’s Word. Also, ask God to prepare you and make you the man He needs for that right student pastor job. It will be worth it to wait and become a better follower of Christ than to just jump into a position not being spiritually where you need to be.
3. Do whatever God puts in front of you. While your waiting to land that perfect student pastor position, serve in other areas that may not be specifically student ministry. For me, God put in front of me a pastoral internship that I am currently doing until a job opens up. This pastoral internship has hardly no student ministry stuff, but is mostly preaching, administration, and working alongside the lead pastor. This has been a good time for me because I have been able to learn more about other areas of church ministry other than student ministry. I will be a better student pastor in the future because of my time here as a pastoral intern. God may not put something like that in front of you during this time. He may put a job at a fast food restaurant in front of you. This may not be your first pick, but in order for God to open the door for you in the future to do something you love, like student ministry, maybe He wants you to humbly serve somewhere that may not be your favorite. Whatever you do during this time, do it for the glory of God and realize that everything is a learning experience that will help you be a better student pastor.
If you are in the process of looking for a full-time student pastor position feel free to contact me so we can mutually encourage each other and connect. I’m always reminded of the Casting Crowns “Already There” when I think about the long process of job searching. One line in the song says, “To You my future is a memory.” How encouraging! Our future, your student pastor job, is a memory to God. Don’t be discouraged, He will open the door when the time is right!