Monday, January 31, 2011

Job Search Misadventures

The Spring and Summer of 2001 found me exploring many different possibilities for life after the Union Church of HinsdaleMarilyn and I were seeking a new ministry, and our preference was to head back to Florida.  My resume had been online for quite a while by then, but I had deflected most of the offers for interviews up until that point.  Over those next few months I would spend lots of time on the computer and the phone, sorting through the churches who had an interest in me.  After prayerful consideration (and Marilyn telling me, once again, that we were not going to Las Vegas or Texas!) I began to set up a few interviews.  When it comes to employment, trying to deal with churches can be frustrating.  Witness the following accounts...

One of the first places that flew me in for a weekend was a United Methodist Church on Florida's Space Coast.  It was a fairly large church with a very active student ministry in need of a leader.  I had a great interview with their search committee, and then a dinner with the Senior Pastor.  I was very excited about the possibilities.  I then spent an evening with some of the student leaders of the group.  We had a great dinner together, and afterwards a number of those youth came to me and told me that of all of the candidates they had met so far, the felt I was the best fit. The whole weekend seemed like a huge success.  I returned home to find my in-box full of encouraging e-mails from staff and students telling how much they hoped I would be coming back to Titusville to join them.  And then I never heard from anyone at that church ever again.  It was like the interview never happened.  I called the pastor later on and was only told the position had been filled.  I found out later they had decided to go with a specific model of ministry and hired someone who had been trained in that method.  Ouch.

The weirdness was only beginning.  Another UMC in Florida called and did an extensive phone interview.  They were very positive and liked what they heard from me.  We planned for me to fly down and spend a weekend.  In the meantime, I heard from some old friends from FUMC-K who had moved and attended the church.  They too were very excited.  On the evening before I was to fly to Orlando on a Friday, they called to tell me not to come.  The position had been filled by their current Assistant Youth Pastor.  I have never quite figured out why they didn't know that before they bought me a plane ticket.  I flew down anyway to visit my parents. 

Yet another UMC, this one in southwest Florida (We wanted to come back to FL, but clearly God was trying to tell me something and I wasn't listening!) flew me in for an interview with the church staff, the search committee and some of the youth & parents- all in one evening.  I knew immediately this place was different.  The Associate Pastor was clearly the one in charge.  The Senior Pastor didn't seem to have much going on.  The student ministry was fairy active, but it had one very serious drawback.  Someone had decided to run a youth-friendly nightclub out of their youth building on weekends.  They had been doing it for about 6 months at the time I interviewed.  They were drawing in almost no one from outside of the church, and the entire student ministry budget was tied up in the enterprise.  There was also almost no money to pay a youth pastor.  I was not looking for anything near what I was making in Hinsdale, but this would have taken me back to a 1993 pay level.  It was another no-go, but at least this time I got to be the one saying no!

God still was opening doors for me, and I continued to walk through them. The final two churches I would interview with before accepting a new position in August of 2001 were both quite interesting in their own ways.  Wednesday I will tell you about my weekend in Baton Rouge, LA, where nothing- and I do mean nothing- was as it seems.  Tomorrow the Jesus Revolution continues!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous1/31/2011

    Lots of faith required in those steps, Carl! SO glad you are taking steps. Tells me that you are great at taking hard steps in risk. I appreciate that about you!

  2. Thanks Tracee! Those steps seemed hard- the steps I am taking these days are much harder. I appreciate your encouragement and support.


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