Living the questions and trying to think theologically... and practically. Learning that these things are more synonymous than I once thought.

Location: Dallas, TX

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


As of August 11, I have two degrees from two really good schools. I made very good grades at each one. I go to interviews and people recognize this. They also compliment me on what a great personality I have. I leave feeling like they are absolutely in love with me, and a part of me knows that they are.

Three weeks out from graduation, and all I've gotten is rejection. I'm sorry. I'm not generally a negative person, but I need to scream and bitch for a bit. You can stop reading now if you feel like it. I completely understand, and I know you and and the other 95% of the world have much bigger problems on your hands.

Here's the thing. I've finally come to the point in my life that I really believe in myself. I still can't fully explain, but somehow it sort of magically happened over the course of the summer. Maybe it's because I've been on a few dates. Maybe it's because people at Journey continually pointed out the fact that I have pastoral gifts and they gave me the opportunity to really use them. Maybe it's because I'm living on my own and doing my best to fend for myself all the while realizing that I'm truly an adult now. Regardless, from where I presently sit, I feel as if I have a lot to offer the world. I've always had this wide-eyed optimism that I could spend my life loving people and talking about Jesus, and somehow or another, I'd be paid for it. Not an exorbitent amount. I definitely never expected to be rich. In fact, I've pretty much envisioned myself scraping by but being perfectly happy because I was doing what I loved to do.

That dream is still very real to me, but it's not as peachy these days. I want to love people and talk about Jesus more than ever, but I'm not sure I'll ever be paid for that. In fact, I've really begun to question whether or not we should be paying people for ministry. This is mainly thanks to Shane Claiborne who constantly reminds me that the New Testament church used its offering to help the poor rather than pay salaries. Paul was bi-vocational, and he wouldn't except compensation for his ministry. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting we suddenly send all of our pastors to the unemployment line, but it's just something I'm questioning in light of some of the things I'm learning. It's not as easy as I'm making it sound. I understand that, but the idea is some consulation to me in light of the fact there are no churches beating down my door and offering me a sweet benefits package.

The problem is, no one seems to want to offer me any kind of sustainable paycheck these days. I'm sending out resumes right and left, and the non-profits both said thanks but no. I'm not sure that I can live on what I'd make selling coffee or books. Sitting behind a desk all day staring at papers is about the most depressing thing I can possibly think of doing. I just to make a difference in the world and be able to pay my bills. Is that so hard?

Pray for me. Doesn't it usually take people months to find a job after they graduate?

Tomorrow, I promise to write something happier. Bitchin' really isn't me.


Blogger Adam Phelan said...

Hang in there. I was rejected enough times this spring to be reduced to tears one afternoon in my advisor's office, asking him to just tell me I don't have what it takes for our line of work. I almost took a job doing accounting and payroll for a restaurant company. But I ended up in a job I've loved so far.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous jro said...

hey janalee – man, do i feel you on this ...

after i graduated it took me about four months to find a job. alex referred to me as his stay-at-home girlfriend :) ... it was, mostly, awful. i got depressed, i was broke and what money i had was supplied from others, and i took everything so personally. of course that season had an eventual end and unfortunately it took me far to long to realize i would never have that kind of time again so i should use it A LOT differently. so, yeah, what you are feeling is so normal, and it taking forever is also normal, but you should do what is NOT normal - realize this time might be precious and use it for every selfish indulgence you can think of! the last 3 weeks of my unemployment i finally got it. i read some books, I slept in (but not cause I was depressed, I took a very spontaneous road trip – they were small luxuries but i certainly could not be that flexible now. anyway, keep it up – keep on sending your stuff out, eventually the right fit will come but until then think of yourself more often then you will have time to once you have a job.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Sheri Ann said...

Oh, sweet Janalee! I will be praying for you! I know it's tough! I wanted to speak on the bi-vocational thing though! That's awesome! When I graduated from seminary, it's what I was called to. Not so for the majority of my peers. I felt really convicted by the Holy Spirit while studying 1 Corinthians 9, and I knew God was calling me to bi-vocational ministry. At my church, this is pretty common. In fact, right now we have 1 paid staff member, our worship leader. Our pastor just stepped down as the paid pastor, took a job with a counseling ministry, and serves now as our teaching elder. (We are elder led, not pastor led. He is one of three elders.) All of our ministers (children, youth, college, elders, etc.) are non-paid, bi-vocational servants. Our church feels this is important because we see our instereste best served not being in a church building working, but being out in the secular workforce, living life and serving God in our communities. I work for a non-profit in FW. Our three elders are an architect, airforce pilot, and family counselor. Our youth minister works in a warehouse as a delivery man. Our children's minister has like 20 random jobs. The college leaders that work with me are a teacher, a cop, and a YMCA staff member. We call this kind of work and ministry "missional life," and we encourage each member of the church to do the same.

All of this is to say that bi-vocational ministry is a growing way to do things. Especially on the mission field in America. There is just not enough money to support our "home" missionaries.

I am called to be bi-vocational. I feel that my ministry is more effective if the majority of my time is spent in an office with people that don't go to church or believe in God. Sure, it causes me to be EXTREMELY busy and worn out, but that's why I am building a team to help me out. My days are spent in a non-profit, my nights are spent with college kinds. It is great!

Let me know if you want to talk further! I can go on for days!

7:41 AM  

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