4 Ways To Handle Rejection & Leave A Lasting Impression
Whether it's the junior high dance or searching for a ministry placement, being rejected falls somewhere around root canals and paying taxes in desirability.
Unfortunately, everyone has to learn how to deal with rejection, and the personal investment that ministry requires makes it even more important to deal with in a God honoring way.
Our team here at Vanderbloemen has a really fun job because we get to see who God is calling to churches across the world, but there is one not-so-fun part of our job. That is letting a candidate know that they will not be moving forward in a search. However, we gain keen insight into the character of a candidate based on how they deal with feeling rejected.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when facing rejection:
1. Rejection from a ministry position is rarely personal...but always feels like it is.
In our experience working with churches around the world to find their key staff, the most painful thing we see is really good, qualified people being told "no." This is almost always based on qualifications, alignment, and fit. However, candidates often feel like it is much more personal. Reactions range from faith filled and trusting to angry and belligerent, but the responses that reflect the most healthy candidates always understand what is their feelings and what is the reality of the situation.
2. Don't send THAT email.
You know, the one I’m talking about. It's filled with everything that should be in your journal and nothing that should be in someone else's hands, especially in a forwardable format.
Rejection is an emotionally charged experience, and dealing with those emotions is very important, butan email to the church is not the appropriate medium. Journal about it, talk to your spouse or a counselor, but don't send your raw thoughts to the church or ministry, no matter how important you think it is for them to know what your thinking.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
The assumptions we make often reflect our biggest insecurities or areas where we place our identity. Don’t assume that you weren’t hired because of your gender, look, age, or personality. There are many qualifications that a church is looking for when hiring a staff member, some tangible and some intangible. Don’t assume you can read the hiring manager’s mind, because most of the time, our uninformed assumptions simply aren’t the truth. Be confident that the Lord will open and close doors to lead you where He is calling you, and be patient as the journey unfolds.
4. Have endurance.
Romans 5 talks about how suffering leads to hope if we embrace the truth that faith will not fail us as we are ultimately loved and unconditionally accepted because of Christ. This is a basic truth of being a Christian, but one that is hard to put into practice when we are in pain. Bearing rejection and walking through the desert of searching for your next ministry position can reveal bitterness or it can reveal beauty. The difference is often how much we rest in the truth of Romans 5, not by shoving the pain down and putting on a pretend smile, but wrestling with it just a David did when he was in the literal desert.
We know how difficult the search for the right fit in ministry is, and we stand with you as you discern where God is calling you. No person is called to two places at once, and no two people are called to the same job. If you’ve applied to more than one position, you can expect to face rejection to some degree during your job search.
I hope these four insights help you reflect upon how you are reacting to rejection in all areas of life, but especially as you search for where God is leading you in ministry.