Most clergy come into ministry with energy and vigor, and serve until they reach retirement eligibility. However, some persons who enter ministry later experience a loss of calling, yet feel trapped in the only profession for which they are trained and educated.
What does an elder or deacon do when they no longer sense a call?
It happens. To good people. Unexpectedly. But with the investment in clergy education, living in the parsonage, and a lack of other marketable skills, an elder or a deacon may feel trapped in ordained ministry, even when it is draining them completely.
Our General Board of Pensions has a program to assist individuals who may be in this difficult position. The Voluntary Transition Program provides eligible clergy with a financially supported method for a grace-filled exit. The program is for eligible clergy who choose to withdraw from the ministry. The program was adopted at General Conference 2012. It will terminate December 31, 2020.
The program provides an eligible participant a career transition package that includes:
Clergy who meet the following criteria may be eligible for the Voluntary Transition Program:
– Appointment immediately preceding separation from service must be generally:
1) an active appointment (full-time or part-time),
2) transitional leave, or
3) receiving a long-term disability benefit from CPP.
This program is not a sabbath or respite; it includes withdrawal from the conference and surrendering one's clergy credentials. It is for those who need to make a break, and turn the corner to a different vocational path.
The links below provide further information on the VTP.
Voluntary Transition Program - Highlight Sheet
Voluntary Transition Program - Frequently Asked Questions
Voluntary Transition Program - Agreement Form
Voluntary Transition Program - Checklist
If you are interested, the process begins with a discussion with your District Superintendent.