When I transitioned to full-time ministry one concern I considered related to “staying relevant” outside of ministry. I still have a desire to connect with people who were still in the marketplace and to share and learn from them. Right before my transition I had more than a few folks caution me that a move to ministry would be career suicide and that I would struggle to stay relevant. Now that I’ve made the transition and have been exposed to the reality of “relevancy” I thought I would share a few insights.
To be completely honest, after you leave your relevancy to your previous organization diminishes exponentially. Slow at first, but over time, it ramps down quite quickly. While I can still relate to the big things and directionally what is going on, with each passing decision you will lose the context for those decisions and therefore, your ability to properly relate with accuracy. When you move out of the marketplace you just cannot keep up with the pace of activity in your old industry – no surprise there. While I still read the industry trade magazines and have written for a blog or two in Healthcare, I still realize with each passing month or year my ability to quickly jump back in the saddle lessens.
Knowing my relevance would diminish I had to wrestle with HOW I was going to be relevant. Who did I want to be relevant to? I think, when I took an honest review of what I was concerned about, the real question I was struggling with was “will I be able to relate to others outside of ministry in ways that would be beneficial since I won’t be working a ‘normal job’ “? Sounds like a crazy question, but I’m guessing others who are considering making the jump might consider the same question.
I recently had an experience where I was meeting with a few gentlemen and they were sharing the struggles of their days at work. As the conversation went around the table and got to me, it was a little awkward because the majority of the issues I now deal with can’t be shared as they are private. I also don’t have the “normal struggles” I did in the marketplace because in ministry the work is incredibly rewarding. While initially I found my fear of irrelevancy welling up, what I recognized is that my previous management experience, tied with a biblical worldview allowed for an extremely rich and vibrant discussion.
While I may not be able to relate exactly the way I could have in the past, transitioning into ministry allows me a remarkable way to relate in my previous marketplace experience while adding a beneficial ministry perspective. I couldn’t image a better combination! On this side of my decision to move to full time ministry, I can see I’m still relevant.