Job News

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 29, 2005

A while back, I told you about my search for a 2nd job.  I want a 2nd job so that I can divert money in the Missio Dei budget from my salary into other stuff.  Most of the budget is from funds I’ve raised, and it is short term funding, and has been decreasing for almost a year now. 

I thought about getting a job in the neighborhood–at a coffee shop or something.  Getting a simple local job sounds really appealing to me, but unfortunately, my wife and I own a home (which we share with 5 other people), and I need to make more money than I can get at a coffee shop or restaurant.  And there really aren’t many other types of jobs available in the West Bank.

For the past month or so, I’ve been pursuing a really good opportunity at Bethel Seminary: the position of executive assitant to the Vice President of Operations and Dean of the Center for Transformational Leadership.  The job pays well (about $14/hr) and has full benefits, but is only 24 hours a week.  The job would give me the opportunity to work with a group of people I already know and love.  It would also give me the ability to have a role in giving shape to the future of the Seminary.  It would have also given me a good opportunit to learn from the VP/Dean, who is a very strong and visionary leader (although I don’t agree with him on lots of things, I have a good deal of respect for Dr. Bourgond).  Since one of my long term goals is to help shape future leaders, and encourage them to rethink leadership and the nature of the Church, I thought it would be a great foot in the door.  I’m already slotted to begin doing adjunct teaching there this Spring, and this role would have given me even more influence at the Seminary. 

I was moving full speed ahead with the job at the Seminary (I even bought a really nice suit for my interview).  Until this morning, I was one of several people (thinned down from over a dozen applicants) being considered.  And I’d say my chances were dang good.  But now I’ve taken myself out of consideration for that position. So what happened?

About 3 weeks ago, I was approached
by the Twin Cities Metro Director for InterVarsity, Mark Paulson.  He proposed that I come
on staff at InterVarsity and start a West Bank chapter.  Since Missio Dei, is committed to ministering on the West
Bank, and since I respect the ministry of InterVarsity very much, I have been
trying to find ways to work with them on ministry projects on the West Bank
(there is virtually no campus ministry activity among West Bank students). Their proposal came as a surprise, since they don?t
want me merely to come on staff; they want me to start a West Bank chapter that is co-affiliated with InterVarsity and Missio Dei. They are willing to let the line between parachurch and church
get fuzzy so that this ministry can be an authentic expression of Missio Dei.

They don’t even care if we call the ministry "InterVarsity!"  Working with InterVarsity would allow me to focus more energy on the West Bank, and in a way that complements the ministry of
Missio Dei.  It would give us connections with the student population, opening up new possibilities for ministry. 

Since working with InterVarsity will require me to be a fundraiser (something I
dislike immensely), I had initially decided to turn them down.  But as we’ve prayed about it at Missio Dei, and as I’ve discussed it with folks, I realize two things: 1) I really get more excited about the possibility of working with InterVarsity as time goes by and 2) that my commitment to Missio Dei and the West Bank trumps any other job possibilities.  I’m beginging to feel like this was something God orchestrated.  And while I’m not looking forward to raising money, I take some comfort in the reality that fund raising for a campus ministry is MUCH EASIER than fund raising for a church.  InterVarsity is well known and well-respected.  I think I am up to the challenge.   

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2 Responses to “Job News”

  1. Jeff on November 30th, 2005 12:34 pm

    That sounds really cool Mark. I was hoping to do the same thing with Macalester and Hamline’s Intervarsity at Loungedivine but the director (who is now the regional director) was very leary of blurring those church/parachurch lines. I’m glad your contact is much more open. I think it’s a good thing for the Kingdom.

  2. Van S on November 30th, 2005 12:40 pm

    I think Rick has changed his perspective…maybe you’ve helped in that process. My contact is Mark Paulson, who is the metro director, but I have also talked with Rick Mattson as well. Rick has been studying up on emergent stuff and I think he’s come to the conclusion that strategic partnerships are worth the blurring of lines.

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