Dear Addie,

I have a shiny new seminary diploma of which I am proud. But I don’t have a ministry position to go with it!

I started my search process about six months before I graduated, but so far no luck. I have had a few interviews and even went on a visit to one church, but I just can’t seem to make it to the final round.

I, of course, saved very little money during seminary, and while I don’t have much student debt, I also don’t have much money left to live on. I know the search process sometimes takes a long time, but I can’t afford to wait much longer. I have rent to pay and health insurance to buy. Plus I really want to keep on eating. Yet working some place like Starbucks seems like such a waste of my education and my calling. I would feel like such a failure. I can hardly even think about taking a non-ministry job.

Hope is Slipping Away


My dear H.I.S.A.,

You are in that hard space of between–between seminary and your first full-time job, and that space is rather crowded these days. It seems to take a bit longer to find that first position after you graduate–so know that you are not alone. I imagine some of your fellow graduates are still in search mode as well. Reach out to them. Be a support to them, and ask them to return the favor. Pray for each other. Share your disappointments. And learn from each other. Searching for a ministry position should never be done in isolation. You need lots of friends and encouragers to make it through this season.

You are also in a beautiful space–a space in which you have opportunity to learn that there are no wasted experiences in life. Every job you take, every employer you have, every co-worker you serve with will contribute to who you are as a person and as a minister, and working in a non-church job can add great value to your ministry journey. In fact, a secular job will provide you with many opportunities for service. Being a barista or a waitress affords you with personal encounters and conversations that will stretch your ministry gifts, help you develop stronger pastoral skills, and open doors for you to serve many folks who are not and may never be connected with a church. While you are not able to imagine it now, Starbucks can be a place of ministry for you. So open yourself to a new vision of how and where God can use you, and remember that there is ministry to be done in every place you work, in every job you hold.

And finally, hold on to hope! And keep on doing the work required to find a ministry position as you serve faithfully in whatever situation you find yourself.

Blessings on you,