What vocation would you choose if you were not a pastor?
That is the question I posed on social media. Both the nature and the quantity of the responses are indicative that many pastors think about this matter. We received well over 1,000 responses. A number of them are bi-vocational, so they have already chosen a second vocation.
Here are the top ten responses in order of frequency:
- Teacher. Most of the pastors specified high school or elementary teachers. A few mentioned professors in universities or seminaries.
- Coaching a sport’s team. There were a variety of choices among the various sports, but high school football was the most frequently noted.
- Law enforcement/first responder. More of the respondents chose police as their alternative vocation, but firefighter was a clear second choice.
- Small business owner/entrepreneur. Some of the pastors were very specific about the nature of this path, particularly with options in the digital world.
- Skilled laborer. These responses were really varied. They included such vocations as woodworker, plumber, electrician, and mechanic.
- Denominational worker. These respondents obviously wanted to remain in vocational ministry as their second choice.
- Chaplaincy. The most common choice was hospital chaplain followed by military chaplain.
- Broadcaster. These responses included radio broadcasting, television personalities, and play-by-play announcers for sports teams.
- Counselor/therapist. The pastors who responded with this choice often mentioned that counseling was the most fulfilling aspect of pastoral ministry.
- Medical field. Physicians and nurses were the most frequently mentioned.
Pastors offered dozens of outlier responses. Here are a few of the stranger comments. None of these were offered by more than one pastor. That is totally understandable.
- Lion trainer
- High King of Gondor
- Tollbooth attendant in Florida
- Exotic dancer
- Lion trainer
- Cranky deacon
- Hot dog vendor
- Playing cowbell in a band
- Smoking pork butts and inhaling
- Trophy husband
- Dolphin trainer
- Ninja turtle
- Raiser of zebras
- Custom treehouse designer
- Disney monorail driver
Thanks, pastors. Have a great 2021.