Do you remember that show G.I. Joe? Not the really lame movie that I still haven't seen. I'm talking about the awesome cartoon that was on television when I was growing up. At the end of every episode, there was always a public service announcement. At the end of the safety lesson or whatever it happened to be that day, the kids would say, "Now I know," and the G.I. Joe character would say, "...and knowing is half the battle."
Not too long ago, I wrote about how a church in Texas declined to give me an interview for their youth pastor position. After some back and forth, I was able to gain an understanding into why they chose not to extend an interview. When it was all said and done, I had two positives and three negatives in regards to what they were looking for.
First, the positives. I had experience preaching. This is true. My pastor has been gracious enough to give me opportunities to preach (you can check out some of my sermons here, here, and here). The other positive was my teaching experience. I have been teaching Sunday School for nearly a year at this point, as well as multiple teaching opportunities prior to being where we are now. Additionally, I am a full-time elementary school teacher, so communicating to others is a huge part of what I do.
Now, the negatives. The first strike against me was the fact that I have no full-time ministry experience. All of my preaching, teaching, and leading have been on a volunteer basis. The second strike was the fact that I am still enrolled in seminary. At this point, I have only one semester left and will complete my studies for my MA in Church Planting and Evangelism from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in December. And the final strike? Well, this is perhaps the biggest strike against me of all. On my resume, it said that I was seeking a job as a pastor. They were looking to hire a youth pastor. I guess the omission of that one little word was enough to disqualify me. Three strikes...you're out.
I guess the question I have from all of this would be: How am I to gain experience if no one is willing to give me the opportunity? I would love to have some full-time ministry work to put on a resume or to serve in as my called profession, but it is a little hard to do when no one will give me an opportunity because of my lack of experience. It's just a vicious cycle.
Any thoughts or suggestions as to what I should do?