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 | By Patricia Mish

I’m Thinking About Making Ministry My Day Job

I love volunteering at my parish, and I’m considering a career change. How do I know if full-time parish ministry is for me?

That’s wonderful to hear!

As always, begin with prayer. Ask the Lord for help discerning whether the Holy Spirit is calling you to work for the Church.

You have already taken a second crucial step on the path to a career in ministry. As with any new job or career change, either volunteering or an internship can help you determine whether full-time ministry is for you.

Volunteering also can give you an opportunity to sample which specific ministry might be the best fit with your interests and talents. A parish offers a rich variety of roles: organizing the food pantry, redesigning your parish website, teaching faith formation classes or helping with bookkeeping, to name a few.

Once you narrow things down, consider a job shadow. Spend a day or two alongside the parish secretary, or youth ministry or faith formation director, for example. If you would like to work at the diocese, ask for a tour and see if you can spend time with employees there. If the first role you step into doesn’t click, don’t be discouraged! Offer to fill in or assist with other ministries. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in prayer and see where God leads you.

Keep an open mind. You may find that 9-to-5 ministry actually isn’t for you. Perhaps volunteering at the parish a few hours a week is a better fit. You may find you love your current job and decide instead to focus on that for now. As St. Paul reminds us, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Rom 12:6-8)

Patricia Mish is the managing editor of FAITH Grand Rapids.

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