"So what do you do, exactly?" is a question I hear all the time. People love the name Free Range Priest, and they get that I am a clergyperson, but they have little idea of what I do with my time outside of Sunday morning (I am guessing this is true for congregational clergy sometimes, too!)
I try to explain that I work with clergy, congregations, and people outside of the church, helping to share the Gospel in all sorts of ways. This includes coaching, teaching, writing, speaking, and generally promoting the sharing of the Christian faith, in ways that are pretty traditional (in church itself), and pretty non-traditional (on Facebook). "But how do you get paid?" is usually the follow-up question. And that is the question, really. If clergy are not paid for their ministry through a congregation or an institution, then who is paying them? And for what?
My good friend Jay McNeal and I were talking about this recently, and he said that what we are is 'clergypreneurs'. I love that term! We are learning ways to talk about God, about our walk in faith, in new ways and places. And we are being compensated in new ways and places for that. Which can sometimes feel uncomfortable. Paying for ministry is fraught with difficult questions and conversations.
But honestly, I think the world needs ministry now more than ever. The world needs people now more than ever who are committing their lives to bearing the stories, sacraments, and traditions of the church. And in order to fulfill that need, we have to find new ways of supporting what we do, because what we do is so important.
So that is my journey right now - finding ways of talking about ministry and money, and finding ways to get paid for talking about ministry and money! And it feels weird, and I am reminded all the time of why Jesus talks about money so much in the Gospels: everything we value, and all the ways we value it, are tied up in money, and even more deeply, in faith. What we really believe about love, life, death, happiness, and eternity.
Now is the time to believe in abundance, in grace, in new directions. So I feel inspired being a clergypreneur, and helping others along that path. Making ministry sustainable and making the love of God known in more ways and places every day.