In the Meantime, Part 2

This post is part 2 of a 4-part series based on chapter 5 of Melissa A. Fallen’s Lost & Found: From Losing Your Pulpit to Finding Your Passion. Find part 1 here. Look for part 3 next Tuesday.

Last week we considered Entertainment and Physical Activity, two activities we might fill our time with in addition to job hunting while we are in between jobs. These can be life-giving or soul-sucking activities. Unfortunately, as we saw last week, the soul-sucking ones can be easiest to fall into. This week, we’re looking at Side Jobs and Serving.

Side Jobs

While unemployed, I drove for a meal delivery service. This job did not pay huge amounts of money, but it did provide a little boost to my income and gave me some purposeful work to look forward to on my own schedule. I enjoyed the ability to run errands and then turn on my app for the food-delivery service and earn $25 in an afternoon before heading back home.

I also got connected with a lady who did estate sales. Again, I did not make a lot of money doing this job, but the money I did make I put in an envelope and used for spending money on fun things, so I didn’t have to feel guilty for raiding my savings to go to concerts or other events. I did not like either job particularly well, but they both gave me some perspective and got me out of the house enough to connect with other people.

Whether your situation demands you get a job immediately or not, consider how a side job might provide you some meaningful work during your downtime. You don’t have to think of these jobs as a career, but they could give you exposure to things you do or don’t want to do and give you a perspective on the world that is always helpful in ministry and life.


Early on in my unemployment, I made a mental list of all the fun things I wanted to do during whatever time frame I would find myself unemployed. I began to rationalize and say I deserved it after all I had been through. At some point a few weeks in, I realized that I also had some responsibility to use this time not just for myself but to help others as well.

Finding a place to serve when you are not sure how long you will be out of a job can be hard. You may find it difficult to get involved in an ongoing service opportunity, but do not miss out on some one-time events where you could help. For example, my church was providing lunches for a mission team at various sites in town. They needed people to pack coolers and drop off lunches for a week. I also volunteered for Vacation Bible School, and I helped my state denominational group clean out and prepare their disaster-relief resources. The fun part about the last activity is that I got to do it with my parents.

During my unemployment, a tropical storm hit that caused devastation. My denomination was sending groups for a couple of weeks that summer to particularly hard-hit areas. Unfortunately, the timing did not work out for me to go, but it was unique for me even to consider that experience, knowing that previously it would not have been an option with my job demands.

One of the more unique opportunities I had was to meet with a homeless girl and help her through some appointments. As we sat in my car eating burgers and fries, she shared her story through tears. By the end, we had found common ground and were both laughing together and imagining what both of our futures might look like. Spending the day with her helped put my life in a different perspective and gave me the opportunity to connect with someone I never would have in my previous job.

I don’t know what your passion is, but find an activity where you can use your gifts. Even if it’s not the perfect fit for you, now is a great time to try something different. You never know when an event will spark within you a desire to serve somewhere or ignite a connection that will change your life in some way.

Melissa Fallen is a native of Richmond, Virginia, where she has resided most of her life. She spends her free time enjoying the great outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and following her niece’s and nephews’ sports endeavors. She also enjoys coaching high school basketball. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and received both her M.Div. and D.Min. from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. After working in both the local church and academia, she is currently serving as the pastor of Glen Allen Baptist Church. Her book Lost & Found: From Losing Your Pulpit to Finding Your Passion is available here.

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