I don’t know what I’m doing next year! This is something which is increasingly becoming important. I have a few obvious options but even these are incomplete.
The first is to start a three year training program with the Navigators, this is called FFM (Foundations for Ministry). There will be similar studies, but with more depth, like what I’m doing now. And training away days. With this option I will probably continue my work with the student ministry at UoB. If I pursue this option I’ll be aiming to do it part time, with the other “part” of my working time, in a local business. To help support us financially, I will also be able to lean on financial gifts and support from doners – this will help with the “away days” I’ll have to do with FFM (I’ll be able to take the leave as unpaid holiday without it affecting our budget or limiting the holidays my wife and I can take together!).
The picture is incomplete with this option, since I have no idea which local business I’ll be able to join with. And it is hard, because it will be no good applying for these jobs until a couple or (3 max) months beforehand. As a someone with a strong J preference on the MBTI, this is highly frustrating! The option is open for me to return to Sainsbury’s in Longbridge, however I’d much prefer to be part of a smaller firm, which is more local (So my time isn’t spent travelling all over Birmingham!). My pride also itches to work somewhere where I can dress smartly!
The other options involve leaving the Navigators, these are less thought through.
- Work for a year in a local business full time and apply for either
- A master’s in theology for the following year (Summer, 2018), either at a Bible College or at the UoB. With this option, I’ll probably continue at the local business during my Master’s classes. And I may stay linked to Navs unofficially as an associate (which is a low-commitment role).
- A PGCE (teacher training) for the following year (Summer, 2018). This sets the pace for me for the next 5-6 years as I’ll go into teaching. And put aside thoughts of full-time Church work on hold.
- Focus on applying for graduate jobs, with a much higher salary. This will mean we’ll be able to afford nice things and be able to go on holiday’s abroad. These are things which we both feel we have had to sacrifice this year, (even if this sounds selfish), my wife loves to travel and since being married has been limited to do that. With the extra money we’ll also be able to use to support other Christian’s in ministry, there is a couple who currently serve in Egypt who have played a massive role in mentoring us into marriage!
- Apply directly for a salaried church position. Despite feeling too young, to do this and academically (on paper) very under-qualified (God calls and qualifies). This is my favorite option! But there are a lot of problems with it: again the options to do this are limited and vacancies don’t seem to open until a few months before. I also understand that there is a lot of value, in having had “real-world” experience before doing this. As it will help me relate to people better. Furthermore it complicates our relationship to our current church. How healthy/harmful would it be to leave our current church, whose Pastor I have really connected with this year, in order to serve another Church?
These 4 options feel like the avenues open to us. As for my wife, she is planning to do another year as an EAL Coach before she applies for Schools Direct Salaried (another teacher training route).
In all of this I know that God is sovereign and sees beginning from the end. So I ask for His wisdom and guidance. I also ask that He would protect my relationship to our current Church and Navigators so that whether we leave them or stay we will be on good terms. At the end of the day I’m 22 years old and it seems I have a lot of life ahead of me, but in a very real way I’m going to need work next year. So God come and lead me.