Happy First Anniversary Ministerial Life

A year ago, I was a newly-unemployed, underfunded doctoral student and minister with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and some extra time on my hands.  In my attempt to survive with no real income, I made the decision to start two businesses: Steps Toward Change Research Group and Ministerial Life. While Steps Toward Change Research Group was meant to be a strategy consultancy, the purpose of Ministerial Life was to discuss the trouble that younger ministers tend to face in trying to find balance in life.  It can be frustrating to navigate through church-related pressures at the same time as pursuing career goals and dating with the hope of starting a family someday.  I figured that a blog would give me the chance to organize and share some of my thoughts on life in general.

Today, my life has changed drastically.  I am writing this post from San Francisco on the day of my first academic presentation and the eve of my first solo academic presentation.  It feels good to see some of my hard work pay off.  I’m still single, but after the experience that inspired a string of embarrassingly emotional posts in October, I’m fine with it because I have more time to make the necessary sacrifices for my dreams.

Church life is still frustrating, but I am finally learning that my frustration comes from my perfectionist tendencies.  When I see problems, I often feel that it is my responsibility to fix them even when it isn’t.  God has been dealing with me about that and now I’m much less stressed.  I had some doubts about my transfer to Rutgers Fall 2011.  Those doubts increased when I ended up losing my funding due to a professor’s ego.  At this point, most of those doubts are gone.  Sure the funding situation is still less-than-ideal, but I have been able to string together a few part-time jobs on campus.  In addition, Steps Toward Change Research Group is slightly profitable in spite of the occasional issues with clients.

The vision for Ministerial Life has also grown dramatically.  What started out as a blog is now the home of all of my creative activity.  Whenever I get around to releasing my mixtape, it is being released through Ministerial Life.  I also have a few ideas for webisodes and vlogs about church life that should make their appearance this year.  However, I acknowledge that to some extent, Ministerial Life has taken a back seat to my academic pursuits.  I take my comprehensive exams next semester and I am trying to expedite my dissertation process because of my lack of funding.  As a result, I’ll likely be struggling to find the time to be creative over the next year.

A part of me hoped to have a large celebration commemorating this moment  I guess I succeeded. There is no way that I could have ever expected to be in San Francisco on the anniversary of my first post, but I’m glad that I’m here in some conference hotel that would normally be way out of my price range because it serves as a preview of things to come and a reminder of how many things have changed already.  Sure I’m not a famous billionaire yet, but there is plenty of time for that later and days like this remind me that I am on the right track.


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About Spencer

Spencer T. Clayton is a typical millennial who believed his mother when she told him that he was capable of accomplishing great things (and as a result has amassed a large amount of student loan debt). When he isn’t blogging, he is either out with friends, writing and performing music, or busy working as an Executive Pastor and Consultant while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Public Affairs.

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