I didn’t originally want to go back into IT after 15 years in the career field. It was 1999 and I had just left active duty with the US Air Force. My designation was a Communications-Computer Systems Officer but I had served as a hybrid IT support/project manager/Airman wrangler throughout my four years. I knew I had a calling to ministry, specifically ministry to children and youth. I was hoping for full time ministry. Therefore, I was looking to leave IT behind. I still loved technology and computers, but I wanted to follow my calling even more.
However, anyone who has gone down this road knows that a lot of churches expect either ordination or a degree from a seminary (or as a minimum, an undergraduate Biblical degree from a Bible college) for a full time position. I had neither. As a result, the options were limited. I could get a part time position with the expectation I would go to seminary in order to be a full time youth pastor. I could switch denominations and serve as a pastor over a church, but not in youth or children’s ministry. Or I could go back into IT. At that time my wife and I had two toddlers. Incurring a load of student loans for three years of full time college didn’t make sense. I wasn’t called to be a senior/lead pastor. I was called to work with students. Therefore, I went back into IT.
Fast forward 20 years. I’m still in IT. However, my perspective has changed. I’ve been able to stay primarily in children’s and youth ministry. I’m a youth director for my church and I love what I do. I have found over the years that most churches can’t afford a full time staff position for a youth minister. The need, therefore, is for someone who is bi-vocational. As a result, someone like me who has everything covered financially by the first job is ideal. By working in IT, I can fulfill my calling.
My perspective with regards to IT has changed as well. At the end of the day, to me IT is about serving others. So while my current position does not work with children or youth except on special occasions, IT still has a deeply fulfilling aspect that I love. I say that because as a twenty-something I was more enamored with new technology. I was one of the ones who also wanted the newest shiny. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen technology for what it really is: tools to help us. My job is to use technology to help others. My job is to design technical solutions that are of benefit to people.
That’s why I do what I do. First and foremost, IT allows me to fulfill my calling, which is to minister to children and youth. I’ve been asked if I ever wanted to be a pastor of a church some day. I don’t. I can trace back to childhood specific opportunities and training which equipped me for working with students. My job in IT provides the opportunity to serve in this role as well. It’s clear this is where I’m to be. That may change in the future, but it hasn’t in over 20 years. Second, in IT I can serve others, both directly and indirectly. My focus used to about the technology itself. Now it’s about people. There’s nothing wrong with loving to work with new stuff. I do, but it is of secondary importance for my secondary reason. These are the reasons I do what I do.