My last day of pastoral ministry was Sunday, August 29th. Up to that point, I served in pastoral ministry for 10 years – from being on staff at a multi-site church to being a solo-pastor at a church plant. From the time I turned eighteen years old, my primary role in life was to serve God’s people with the title of “pastor”.
Numerous people have asked me over the past 4 weeks – “So… Tyler… how’s it going now that you are no longer in pastoral ministry?” Here are some of my reflections after stepping down from pastoral ministry –
1. Only having one job is pretty awesome.
This is probably the first thing I share with people. For the past 10 years, I have almost always had multiple jobs in addition to ministry as a means of paying bills. For perspective, I made $12,000/year for the first few years I served in pastoral ministry. There was a point that I held down a total of three jobs in order to make a living. My only job right now is managing the IT Support Center at Southeast Tech – a position I absolutely love. It’s strange that I actually clock out at the end of the day – but really really good.
2. My relationship with God has improved significantly.
As the Lead Pastor of a church, I spent 10 – 15 hours a week studying the text I was preaching on for that week. I would map it out, dig into commentaries, look at it in the original language – all so I would have something meaningful to present to the congregation. I absolutely love preaching – but it’s exhausting. It was easy to get behind on message prep which caused my devotional time to be pushed aside so I could finish working on my message. Now that I no longer have the pressure of weekly preaching, I have been able to focus on sitting at Jesus’ feet to receive from Him rather than produce for Him. The change is hard to describe unless you have served as a pastor – but it’s incredibly beneficial for my soul.
3. My family has loved sitting with me in church.
As I shared above, I have been in weekly pastoral ministry since I was eighteen years old – including the entire time Ashley and I have been married. I rarely sat with my family during church – instead, my wife had to take care of both of our kids each week while I led the congregation. When I had a Sunday off, Ava’s favorite thing was having me sit next to her during church. We currently attend a small church a block from our house – the United Church of Garretson – and I have the opportunity to be with my family every Sunday — my kids and wife love it.
4. I am focused on being a missionary at Southeast Tech.
The reality is, I still serve in pastoral ministry – it just looks different. I fully believe that all Christians are call to ministry in our homes, communities, and workplaces. God has called me away from church ministry to serve the campus of Southeast Tech. I lead a team of 6 people (4 of them being students) and have the opportunity to build relationships and point to Jesus through my work ethic, leadership, and attitude.
In summary, it’s going really well. I do not know if I will ever return to pastoral ministry. I have a deep respect for those who continue to serve in the trenches of pastoral ministry. One of the ways I am hoping to serve the church is by filling in for pastors around the area occasionally (once a month or less). I know from experience that it’s difficult to find people to fill in who understand the Bible and are committed to sound doctrine. If your church is in need of someone to fill in occasionally, I’d love to have a conversation. You can learn more here: Speaking Requests.