I have found that one of the hardest things about being in ministry (for me now for over two decades) is maintaining my faith.  Yes, I just said that.

The ministry is a wonderful calling—an adventure in walking with Christ that’s a little off the beaten path compared to most vocations.  In being called to full time ministry I have been invited to walk a path similar to the path Jesus walked—dependent on God through His people for my salary, called to serve and lead this fabulous, messy group of people called the Church. 

Written by Stefa Chappell     Facebook    | |   Twitter

Written by Stefa Chappell

Facebook | | Twitter

Ministry is not unique in having intense pressures.  What makes ministry unique is that it is so intricately bound with our faith.  If I did not love God, why would I be in ministry?  But the pressures, criticism, unending workload, typically lower pay and higher expectations can have an adverse effect on a person’s spiritual life.  Outside of a daily, protected time with Jesus, there are a few things I have found to help me keep my faith in Jesus central to my life as I endeavor to serve in this wonderful ministry. 

Take intentional time away from the ministry to be reminded that you are first and foremost a child of God.

Several years agoI took a six-month sabbatical—I was burned out and too young to be that way.  For much of my sabbatical I traveled and stayed with dear friends who just loved me.  Without question, the most valuable thing that the Lord did deep inside me was to remind me that I am first and foremost His daughter.  I don’t think you need to take a sabbatical to learn that lesson (although I think more ministers would be healthier and more fruitful if they did!), but it must be learned.  I was called into relationship with God before I was called to ministry.  I was called to relationship with God before the earth was founded.  That’s got to mean something. 

Have friends outside of the ministry.

My friends are lawyers, image consultants and nurses—they own their own businesses and work at places like NASA and somewhere that has to do with Defense (which I may or may not be allowed to know about). :)  As I interact with my friends we don’t talk much about what’s going on in my job (insert Selah here!).  We talk more about our relationship with God than my To Do list.  I am not the leader in our friendship.  I am a follower of Christ.

Remember that God really doesn’t need you.

The simple fact is that God can do this work without me.  Yes, He wants me to be involved (which is why He asked) and He wants to partner with us mere mortals to see His Kingdom come to earth (and He always will), but He really doesn’t need me to make sure it all happens.  When I keep this in mind I can’t help but respond with gratitude for being a part of this work.  There are times when I literally say to God, “Thanks for thinking of me.”  Gratitude nurtures a healthy relationship with God (or with anyone, really), and that’s a great way to stay Christian in the ministry!

AuthorBlane Young

I’m the type of person that rarely buys something out of impulse. It usually takes a lot of thought for me to buy things that seem relatively important and things that are fairly cheap.
I think part of the problem is working through a comparative basis of what money could be used for. I always keep in mind where my money could be well invested and how many hours of work it takes to earn that much money. This makes shopping a tremendously difficult task and giving to ministry even more so.

Written by Katie Zimmerman ( Facebook )

Written by Katie Zimmerman (Facebook)

This perspective needs to shift from a self-focused opportunity cost scenario to handing over financial control to one who controls all of our finances anyway. What we can do with our money is so insignificant compared to what God can do with it. Even though things come up it is important to remember the need to support the Lord’s work and to trust that God can use our money much better than we can.
Giving to Chi Alpha is more than a donation. It is an investment in the work of God on our campus and on campuses across DC.
If we can declare that Jesus has our heart why is it so hard to give him our wallets?
Tuition is expensive and I’m pretty sure I’ll be in debt ‘til I’m 50, but thinking about all the other financial costs in my life and my longing to have complete control over my money reminds me I never really have control over anything. I can’t guarantee a job after college, or any sort of income. My financial situation may change but God WON”T.
If we have faith to move mountains, I’m pretty sure we should trust that God will provide for us to.

When I read the story of the young man who refused to give up his wealth for Jesus I think of how unimportant money is. I mean really, it’s just green paper with pictures of dead people on it. It’s not more important than living a life for Jesus!  But so often I find myself in the same situation where finances are such a delicate topic that I never want to bring it before God. The value we place on money doesn't mean anything compared to the value of the cross. When we keep in mind the value of the cross and it guides our financial decisions, I am certain you will see God use your money in ways you never thought possible.
So how many cups of Starbucks coffee would you be willing to spare? How many fancy new gizmos and gadgets could you do without? What would you be willing to do to invest in something so much more important than yourself?

AuthorBlane Young

In the process of looking for jobs, young professionals often succumb to the corporate world and lose sight of their vision and who they are. However, knowing oneself, and God’s plan for your career, is extremely important during job hunting. 

Written by Steve Prawiromaruto ( Facebook )

Written by Steve Prawiromaruto (Facebook)

Tedx Speaker and author Simon Sinek came up with a revolutionary idea called “Start with Why.” During his talk, he continuously emphasized this idea of “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Sinek discussed how famous individuals such as Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers came up with ideas that revolutionized the world even though there were others around them that had the same capacity to do so. According to Sinek, what distinguishes these individuals is that they communicate the main driving force or the “why” behind their ideas instead of merely saying what their idea is.

Indeed, Sinek’s point of using “why” is revolutionary and gives us a new perspective on careers and how God plays a role in it. Ultimately, if God is your “Why,” he will guide you in the right path and into the right career path. Ask these questions:

  • What talents has he given to me?
  • What kind of environment is he calling me to work in? 
  • Has he created me as someone who likes social interaction? If not, what jobs would be the best fit for me?
  • How much money do I want to make while still putting God first and finances second?

Ah yes, the dreaded money question. Although money is a tricky issue, its still something that needs to be considered. Be honest with yourself regarding how much you should make with your living situation and look for jobs that fit your needs. Do your research regarding the average wage of your position before discussing pay with your employer and do not just accept a low offer for no good reason and expecting a raise in the near future. The organization Glassdoor, a reputable career database, has stated that this does not happen 99% of the time. If you have prayed about it and thought it through, there is no reason to accept anything less, as it will only hurt you and even your future family in the long run.

Sinek states that this approach of using “why” is what makes inspiring leaders. Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream” and not “I have a plan.” He said what his beliefs were and it resonated to those around him and attracted people to him. When you find the right job, and you’re sitting in that office, nervously waiting for your interview, take a minute to examine yourself and ask “Why” you really want this job. Don’t just say profit, which is a result and not a purpose, as Sinek says, but instead ask how this job would accomplish your vision and mission for the future. Going into the interview with this mindset will help you be more confident throughout the interview and help out with those “Tell us a little bit about yourself” questions.

However, even with using “why” and leaning on the Lord for guidance, the path will still be long and challenging. You will probably receive a couple of rejection letters or even not receive anything, after that first interview and maybe even a couple more following that. To make matters worse, your well-intentioned friends and family might continuously remind you about it by asking “Oh how’s that interview you said you aced?” or “Do you have a job yet?” However, these moments are actually where a “why” and a bigger purpose will help you. In a recent article I read from the Huffington Post, the author stated that the number one skill in the workforce is surprisingly not two years of experience with Photoshop but instead “tenacity”. The ability to stay resilient after failure and persistently holding on to your “Why” is how you build up your character and continue working towards success. Thomas Edison took 10,000 attempts to invent the lightbulb. You may fail many times before finally landing the right job.

While a lot of people out there would just say “Follow Your Dreams,” I think this is way too simplistic as your dream will not always be what is good for you. Only by leaning to the Lord as your identity and purpose in job hunting will you be able to choose the right career path and be able to present yourself as someone with ambition and vision. 

Further Resources

Money at US News - Choosing a Fitting Career

Jobs at AOL - How to Negotiate Your Starting Salary

Forbes - 10 Things to Do When You Don't Hear Back After a Job Interview

Huffington Post - The Most Valuable Skill

AuthorBlane Young

I don’t know about you, but I automatically stop listening when people call our generation “entitled.”  When I hear that word, I imagine a bunch of rich, lazy kids who expect their parents to pay for everything.  I picture people who party all the time and aren’t motivated because they’re used to having things handed to them.  I think of people who have no desire to make a difference in this world unless it serves their own selfish desires.

Written by Natalie Hill   Twitter  ||  Facebook

Written by Natalie Hill

Twitter || Facebook

Although this might be an accurate description of some twenty-somethings, it seems to have become an offensive, unfair generalization to describe our generation.  I know so many twenty-somethings who are passionate and motivated to see positive change and do something really important with their lives, and aren’t afraid to go out and see that accomplished.  I believe that this generation can be the generation that brings change to a broken system of government, develops programs to decrease poverty, teaches in schools where people have been afraid to teach, questions how the world works.  These are the people I went to college with and am surrounded by, especially in DC.

    But the more I think about it, “entitled” might also mean something different.  I think one of the biggest temptations for twenty-somethings is to think, or maybe even expect, that the world-changing, high-reward accomplishments will happen right away, or even on our planned timeline.  It’s easy for us to be so motivated that we’re disappointed when our high expectations aren’t immediately realized.  You might want to be the next Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, but you’re probably going to have to write about some mundane school board meetings first.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and all those other cliches about process.

    I hear twenty-somethings talking about settling and the fear of just accepting what’s comfortable.  And I think those are valid concerns.  We can miss amazing opportunities by just seeking comfort.  We’re afraid of dumbing ourselves down or lowering our standards.  But if we’re not careful, those fears can be a product of pride.

    I’ve seen so many people my age who end up disappointed when they realize they can’t have everything when they graduate from college and that their dreams take work.  Well-intentioned plans still have a process.  I think we can change the world, but I also believe in baby steps.  That musician who got famous off of one single overnight is probably just an exception.  Or there are a few old albums you don’t know about that have never seen the light of day.  Because dreams take work.

    Whether it’s landing a dream job or working through an emotionally trying issue or seeing someone you love recognize the truth and love of Jesus, we can’t forget the process.  Sometimes those seasons are long and exhausting and hard and full of loss and disillusionment.  But those seasons are also where our relationships are built and where we learn the most about God, ourselves, and the world around us.  If we give in to the temptation that we don’t need to endure the process, we’ll be extremely disappointed when we encounter those seasons.  

 Step by step, little by little.


AuthorBlane Young