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career moves

Kingdom Assignments

Kingdom Assignments

Occasionally I hear a story about "someone who went somewhere and preached for 45 years..."

Those stories are great, but they are few and far between. Our world grows smaller with each generation. 

My wife and I have viewed life as a Kingdom assignment. Most Kingdoms have a King, and the Kingdom I serve is no different. He tells us what to do and we do it. Even at the risk of relationships, family, friends, favorite restaurants, life routines, and the like...

Along the way I've had some amazing people help me discern, pray, and think through these Kingdom Assignments. This is why I love my work with Slingshot - it enables me to pay this forward.   

Sometimes we could all use help as we navigate our next deployment.


Four Comments...Don't Navigate this Alone

Four Comments...Don't Navigate this Alone

This is the final post in a series of four posts where I’ve been unpacking comments I find myself verbalizing to those who are looking to make a ministry transition:

1. Don’t make a 5 to 10-year decision based on a 5-month need.

2. You gotta finish well.

3. Stay connected to the connectors around you.

And the fourth and final comment I tend to make is:

4. Don’t navigate this alone.

Have you ever checked into a hotel that has Direct TV or hundreds of cable channels? You scroll for several minutes wondering how there could be this many channels with nothing on?  Reality is, there’s a lot on; there’s just nothing on that you are wanting to view right now, at this particular time, with your current mood.

Statistically, there are approximately 10,000 advancing churches in the U.S. Most of these churches that are of any size hire good people when they find them. Most ministry leaders I know have stacks of resumes on their desk if they have posted their position publicly.  Over and over, ministry leaders tell me they refuse to post publicly because they don’t want another 80 resumes.

 Churches and candidates use trusted, connected individuals to help them. (See previous post on comment #3).

If you are just beginning in ministry, or if you are looking for a next-level position, my advice is the same. Find the objective matchmaker in the middle to help you find the right role. 

There’s an old saying preachers often say— “God is working upstream right now.” If you are going through transition please understand that He knows where you are, and He is already working through others to guide you forward.


Let’s all take the steps necessary to work these transitions better. There’s no reason to blow up a ministry or blow up your life while navigating these seasons of change. If you are in ministry in a local church, we NEED you to stay in ministry to continue to move forward and to grow in your leadership chops.



Four Comments...Stay Connected to the Connectors

Four Comments...Stay Connected to the Connectors

[This is the third in a series of four posts].

Seems like I say the same four things repeatedly to those considering a ministry move. In my last post I unpacked the often-used statement “You gotta finish well.”

The third thing I find myself saying a lot these days is:

3. “Stay Connected to the Connectors in Your Life.”

Who are the half-dozen most connected people that you know? Have you told them that you are considering a move? After you told them once, did you reach back out to remind them?

The “connectors” are the type of people who are many times saying, “I know a guy,” or “I know something you should try.” In the church world, these are the types of people that get asked a lot if they know of anyone looking for a ministry opportunity.

The typical problem is that they are asked this over and over, and I’ve found that it’s hard for them to keep track and remember, in addition to their own lives they are trying to live.  I’ve found that staying in people’s inbox every three weeks for any reason is a good way to stay connected to the connectors.

Once you have told them that you are considering a move, you don’t have to tell them over and over, but you do have to find ways to simply stay in front of them.  A conversational one-liner email about the weather, their favorite sports team, or a book recommendation is all it takes.  You’ll be surprised at some point in the future, they may respond with, “I’m so glad you reached out, someone was just asking me if I knew of someone who was looking…”

I recently received an email attached to a long thread that simply said, “Sorry about your Cincinnati Bengals,” but it was from a guy that I’ve had long talks and lots of time coaching, and it reminded me that he was looking.  Right above his email was an email from a pastor wondering if I knew of anybody. Go figure!

Connectors love to connect! Take them up on it.


Click here for Comment 4

Four Comments...You Gotta Finish Well

Four Comments...You Gotta Finish Well

(This is the second in a series of four posts).
In the last post, I unpacked something that I tend to say over and over to those going through a ministry change: Don’t make a 5 to 10-year decision based on a five-month need.

The second thing that I often repeat to those in a difficult season of ministry thinking about a change is:

2. “You gotta finish well.”

Your last 4 to 7 months in your current staff role should be your best ever! Leave on an upward trajectory. Bless don’t curse.  Turn up the awesome. This is especially true if you are younger than 30. It’s really hard to outrun a bad reference early in your ministry career.

I’ll never forget sitting with a discouraged youth pastor who was in conflict with his Senior Pastor. He was a good guy. They were BOTH good guys! He’d had a great decade of ministry. I told him, “Listen, if it’s not going to work out here, that’s ok…but whatever you do, don’t stay too long, get bitter, and get fired.” 

Eighteen months later that’s exactly what happened!  A youth group was blown apart, a lot of collateral damage was done, and another talented church leader was entering the marketplace to start over. Meanwhile, I have many pastors asking me if I know of a good youth pastor…

Here are a few thoughts for you for your next 6 months:

- Get extra sleep.

- Choose 5 leadership books to hone your leadership skills.

- Exercise more.

- Enter into a deeper discipleship community than you’ve been in recently where someone is mentoring you.

- Hire a ministry coach.

- Tell your spouse you need him/her to call you out for talking trash about your current church or senior pastor (or boss).

- Turn down the noise. Watch less NETFLIX. Throw away your Xbox. Have more quiet, more centered prayer, and listen intently to the Spirit’s quiet voice.

Do all of this while working a good process heading towards your exit. You’ll leave your current ministry with everyone thinking, “I wish he/she was staying!” 


Continue to comment #3

Four Comments to Those Considering a Change In Ministry

Four Comments to Those Considering a Change In Ministry

I spend most of my days in conversation with those who are thinking about a move in ministry. It’s either time to move on, time for a new challenge, or they find themselves in a season of seeking something different.

I wind up saying the same version of four things over and over:

1. Don’t make a 5 to 10-year decision based on a 5-month need.

2. You gotta finish well.

3. Stay connected to the connectors around you.

4. Don’t navigate this alone.

So let’s unpack the first comment:

1. “Don’t make a 5 to 10-year decision based on a five-month need.”

Through my work with The Slingshot Group, I’ve come to realize that it takes about 5 months to work a great process for candidates and churches alike.  If you are 43 or 26, it doesn’t matter—you need to put a six-month plan together.

Your next move should NOT be a “two year and out” position. Go someplace where you can build a great ministry. This is going to take you longer to find than you think.

I don’t know why God won’t just ring your phone with the perfect ministry position. (I guess His thoughts actually are higher than mine). But, I have seen God over and over use a truthful and thorough process to match talented candidates to great ministries that are desperately seeking.

If you can take the following steps:

- Make a financial plan. How will you pay the bills for six months without a ministry (if it comes to that)?

- Treat your ministry search like a project. Have a plan, work the plan, and stay faithful.

- Fight discouragement. I’ll talk more about this in the 2nd point, but this will take longer than you want it to, so don’t give up!

God knows your address. This takes patience, as well as homework. The reality is there are thousands of churches looking. Finding a job is one thing, finding a mission fit is something altogether different.


Continue to Comment #2