Like many professionals, I have a profile on LinkedIn, the business social media. I keep up my resume and connections, and look at what my friends in other fields are doing there. Sometimes, LinkedIn sends me ‘jobs you might be interested in’, based on what I do already.
They are always volunteer positions.
I have a Master’s degree and over 20 years of experience. I am a solopreneur of my own ministry/business. But the business world thinks my work is not worth paying for!
They’re not alone.
Many people I speak with express surprise that I make a full-time salary as a Free Range Priest.
Certainly many clergy thinking of stepping out on their own are very worried they won’t make enough to pay their bills.
Never mind that they are currently serving full-time hours for a half-time salary. Or worried about the next budget cycle and what it will mean for their job.
And it’s not LinkedIn’s fault: like so many, they are programmed to believe that what clergy do is serve in congregations, mostly for low pay, and that we don’t mind ‘volunteering’ for things because we are not in it for the money.
But we still have to pay our bills.
Money may not be our primary motivation, but getting paid is crucial for ministry. If we don’t value our work - and ask others to - then it won’t seem important enough to invest in.
So many other professionals have taken the route of turning their passion into a business, and made the world a better place. I think ordained ministers can do this, too.
Re-imagining our ministry as that of ‘faith practitioner’ and ‘clergy consultant’ helps us see how we can serve in new ways, and with new people. Our work is priceless to those who learn how much God loves them.
It’s not too much to ask to be paid for that.
It's time to reimagine ministry for the sake of our own profession, and much more importantly, for the sake of sharing more Good News with a wider world that hardly recognizes us.
It's time to value the priceless nature of this work.