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How I decided to quit my job to go to seminary

Going to seminary has always been a desire of mine. Well, maybe not always… but for a long while. I’ve even tried my hand a taking seminary classes online. In the end it never panned out for me. So, when and how did everything change for me? Well, the story goes something like this:

About 4 years ago my wife and I moved from the south to the not-quite-north. The move had lots of factors… FAR too many to go into here. But we packed the car and headed on the journey with a couple thousand dollars in the bank and an apartment waiting for us. The main reason we ended up in our city was because of a pastor and friend who had recently started a church was here and had mentioned that, at some point, there might be a job for me.

So, my wife and I started working off jobs and just scraping by. After abut a year I spoke with the pastor and discussed my desire to return to full time campus ministry (that is what I had been doing in the south for the 3 years prior to the move). We agreed that it was good timing and started to work towards me coming on staff. The one catch is that, as a campus minister, I had to go out and raise a financial partnership team. Some of you know what I’m talking about… for those who don’t, basically I went to lots of people (friends, family, friends or friends, and so on) and explained my passion to see college students impacted with the gospel. I then asked if they wanted to partner with me financially. And, low and behold, some did.

Now, the problem was that I was REALLY bad at the whole process. While I managed by God’s grace to get enough money to live, it was always tight and difficult… then we added little man… then a house… then sweetpea… then a mini van… over the years our expenses increased, yet income didn’t quite keep up. I was forced to work second jobs and long hours. It was always stressful… We were getting by, but we weren’t sure how long we could keep it up.

Finally, last summer we spent some serious time asking God what we needed to do. I could not see spending another year working 60-70 hours a week to just scrape by… not knowing if it would be a “good” month or a “bad” month. We felt like the grace might be up for this season of life. So, we asked God, “if not this… then what?”


It seemed like an odd answer. We can’t pay the bills now, how will we pay them there? How could this work?

Well, we prayed, talked to friends and family, and thought about it a lot. After about 3 months of consideration… I quit my job. Now, that sounds harsh, and it really wasn’t. My pastor was very supportive and agreed that this seems like the right thing at the right time.

So, here we are… 6 months later… according to our plans we should be packing boxes and preparing to move back south… none the less, that is not what seems to be happening.

So, that is how it went down for us. We’re still in the process. God used (uses) His word, our situations, our friends, and the passions he has given us to help us know where we need to be and what we need to do…

and, by the way, while the story might have sounded rough, I must make it abundantly clear that we have lived a very comfortable life and God has never left us unprovided for. There were times it might have been a little tough, but God has taken care of our every need and many of our wants… To Him I am grateful forever.

Written by
Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns is a past Marketing Manager at Faithlife and now works at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA.

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Written by Ryan Burns