Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Derek Voorhees, DMin

Second Advisor

Randall Nichols, DMin


All Christians are called into ministry through their commitment to Christ and baptism. Some are called into church- or denominationally-recognized pastoral ministry. A traditional way for those called into pastoral ministry would be to follow an educational path of higher education and, upon completion of their studies, entrance into pastoral ministry. There also exists a less traditional path that includes careers and occupations not recognized as church or denominational pastoral ministry. Those who follow this less traditional path will be referred to as a ‘second-career pastor’.

During the transition from a non-ministry career into church- or denominationally-recognized pastoral ministry, many challenges arise for the second-career pastor. This transition not only affects one’s profession but all aspects of a person’s life. This transition mirrors the effect of baptism on the second-career pastor’s life: it is a death to their old life and a rebirth into another.

The end of one career and the beginning of service as clergy is accompanied by the expectations of both the individual and the organization she is called to serve. Second-career pastors enter into ministry with years of relevant life experiences learned in their former occupations, giving them expectations of how organizations and the individuals in them should function. These expectations can both help and hinder their pastoral ministry. Since the ability to manage these expectations is critical to the vitality and longevity of a pastorate, the ideal time to begin an assessment of these expectations is during the transition from the former career into church- or denominationally-recognized pastoral ministry.

This dissertation is designed to help the second-career pastor’s new life be pleasing to God and life-giving to the individual. It attempts to do this by helping these pastors recognize and manage both their own expectations of ministry as well as the expectations of those they have been called to serve. It is recommended that in managing expectations individuals make a thorough assessment of their call and those calling them, and continue to get to know the congregation, the place, the culture, and the way that they interact within the ministry setting.

Included in

Christianity Commons