Clergy Doubt, Crisis of Faith

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Doubt, “I don’t believe anymore, now what do I do?”

Church members and clergy members experience doubt. It might come for traumas in their lives or a fear that all that was believed was a lie. Doubt for some represents a spiritual experience. It is proof that humans have agency over what they accept in life.

For some clergy members, the loss of faith and belief may start a self-destructive spiral of events that destroys their jobs, family, and community relationships. Clergy members some times get the mistaken idea that internal beliefs and faith are essential job duties. Look at the DOT description of 120-107-010 Clergy Member. Performing spiritual functions does not include your beliefs or attitudes. The essential functions are what you do, not what you believe.

I have known clergy members that thought they had wasted their lives on a God that does not exist. They said they thought God had called them to service, but now they realize there was never a God and their life is a lie. They want to run out of the church, slapping themselves, with their hair on fire.

This is a bunch of crap. If there is no God, then you called yourself to service. Your brain decided this job was a good idea. Respect your brain and it’s choices. After all, it goes everywhere you go. For you to abandon what you called yourself to do is to violate all that you are and insulting to you and those that depend on you. If there are some parts of your job you no longer want to do, make changes. Do not destroy your great adventure with an emotional hissy-fit. When people ask why you want to do other things, be honest and tell them that you have been bombarded by religious doubts and need to strengthen your spiritual faith. Whether the strengthening is related to a divine being or your own good judgment, it is still faith.

Disability is a physical impairment. Handicap is a limitation imposed by our inability to accommodate a disability, the result of social restrictions, or discrimination based on prejudice. A change in belief is not a disability. Rather, it is an invisible, self-inflicted handicap based on your prejudice. 

120107010 Clergy Member
Conducts religious worship and performs other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination as authorized, and provides spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members: Leads congregation in worship services. Prepares and delivers sermons and other talks. Interprets doctrine of religion. Instructs people who seek conversion to faith. Conducts wedding and funeral services. Administers religious rites or ordinances. Visits sick and shut-ins, and helps poor. Counsels those in spiritual need and comforts bereaved. Oversees religious education programs. May write articles for publication and engage in interfaith, community, civic, educational, and recreational activities sponsored by or related to interest of denomination. May teach in seminaries and universities. May serve in armed forces, institutions, or industry and be designated Chaplain (profess. & kin.). When in charge of Christian church, congregation, or parish, may be designated Pastor (profess. & kin.) or Rector (profess. & kin.). May carry religious message and medical or educational aid to nonchristian lands and people to obtain converts and establish native church and be designated Missionary (profess. & kin.).

SVP:  8: 4 to 10 Years, Skilled  Holland:  4: Social


Leads congregation in worship services.

  1. Conducts wedding and funeral services.
  2. Administers religious rites or ordinances.
  3. Counsels those in spiritual need.
  4. Interprets doctrine of religion.
  5. Instructs people who seek conversion to faith.
  6. Prepares and delivers sermons and other talks.
  7. Visits sick and shut-ins, and helps poor.
  8. *Engages in interfaith, community, civic, educational, and recreational activities sponsored by or related to interest of denomination.
  9. *Writes articles for publication.
  10. *Teaches in seminaries and universities.
  Clergy Member is a job. Reasonable Accommodation can occur for one or even two of the essential duties of a specific position. Faith and Belief are not essential duties or skills to be a Clergy Member. When a person cannot perform the essential duties behavioral problems begin to occur. This may take the form of unacceptable actions, conflicts with other people, addictions, work avoidance, etc.

There is always a desire to do something that we enjoy; however, we enjoy those tasks we can do. Job skills underlie job preferences. All jobs are a calling; calling from inside us that gives our lives purpose and meaning.

Most jobs are not listed on job banks or posted in newspapers. About 80 to 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking. Clergy Members have a vast network of people, but when thinking about faith, belief, and doubt there is a self-destructive attitude that prevents people from using that network. Seek job opportunities from people you know. The reason for a new job is to increase your income, provide a challenge, expand your world view, or to seek new experiences that you feel are needed to be more totally human.

There is a hierarchy of job seeking for any person with a disability. No longer being able to be employed as a Clergy Member is a disability. It might be a voluntary disability, or there may be the result of physical or psychological disorders that impair the essential job duties. Certainly, a hostile work environment represents a disability. Consider the residual skills and seek a more realistic job option.


1.      Same employer, same job

2.      Same employer, different job

3.      Different employer, same job

4.      Different employer, different job

5.      Retraining

6.      Self-employment


Self-employment is the least effective job placement option, but even if you find another job keep considering it. We are saddled with past biases that prevent our realistic appraisal of future job markets. We think of getting a job largely because we were enslaved to working for someone to get retirement and medical benefits. Retirement is now our responsibility and pensions are a thing of the past. Medical benefits will soon be likewise our responsibility and not part of employment. This was the situation prior to the wage and salary freezes of World War II.


If you cannot generate revenue, I cannot afford to hire you.

If you can generate revenue, you do not need to work for me.


Independent contractor will become an increasingly realistic option across time.