See ya later, marketing.

Rachel Madden
5 min readJun 9, 2022

Why I’m choosing ministry after years pursuing marketing.

| Sunnybrook Christian Church — Stillwater, Oklahoma |

She shook her head in disbelief, slapping the table as she asked the same question again.

“Why the heck would you go work for a church when you could be great at marketing and climb the ladder?”

My coworker wasn’t silly to ask. In her opinion, it’s a waste of talent and opportunity, not to mention leaving a lot of money on the table.

I graduated college with two degrees — marketing & strategic communication. I’ve done social media management, product marketing, community relations, design, and more. I invested significant time and money to be a good marketer.

Instead, I’m going to be a vocational minister. Like the working-at-a-church kind of vocational minister.

I’ve got three simple reasons why.

I feel called to ministry.

Sometimes people have burning bush callings from God, but my experience with calling is much more ordinary. Here’s the abbreviated story.

I grew up with faithful parents who love the church. My dad has served as an elder, my mom as a Bible study teacher & worship team member; both are killing it as small group leaders. At different times in high school, I was a kids, youth and worship intern at church. At OSU, I got involved in a church where I served on the worship team and in the nursery.

In 2020, I interned with the Table (my college ministry) doing events, communications, teaching Sunday school and more. I loved every second of it. Even the exhausting, overwhelming and frustrating parts.

That was when I first considered ministry as a vocation.

So I committed to a 9-month residency program. It is an internship designed to train and equip people headed into vocational ministry.

I loved it.

I moved chairs, planned events, got discipled and discipled others, and learned how to better understand & teach Scripture. I’ve learned theology, philosophies of ministry and what ministry means on boring Tuesdays.

After getting a taste of it these past two years, I’ve felt a call to ministry, knowing it is rarely glamorous or easy.

The church deserves our best.

I enjoy marketing. I spent years in college and jobs developing the necessary skills, and I like to think I’m ok at it.

As I contemplated how to use my skills in the next season of my life, a mentor of mine said something now burned in my mind.

“I’m convinced that the church deserves our very best.”

Things I’ve worked to be good at — speaking, events, digital savvy, creative story-telling — those are all marketing. But, they also translate well into ministry.

Ministers teach the Bible, plan events, build relationships with people, do sign ups and logistics and ultimately, tell everyone possible about the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a marketer, almost every story I could sell is too good to be true. But the Gospel and the local church?

There is no story more worth telling than God making everything right in Jesus.

I’m convinced that if God has given me gifts and skills, His church is one of the best places I can use them.

I desire faithfulness.


I’ve always wanted to be impressive.

I hate that it’s true, but it is. And college definitely didn’t help.

University culture is one where grades, scholarships, campus involvement, leadership positions, and flashy internships shout to the world,


Beyond that, don’t get me going on how I think social media pours gasoline on our burning craving to be impressive.

By contrast, working at a church is not impressive.

There’s no brand recognition, no signing bonus, no chorus of LinkedIn congratulations or alumni shoutouts for people who work at churches. In fact, in the eyes of many, it’s not even a “real job”.

Going against the grain of social media and branding I’m trained in, my new job isn’t flashy. Where I live isn’t super cool (I love you anways, Stilly). My salary won’t blow anyone away. My office won’t have an epic view of some snazzy downtown.

And that’s ok. I understand why some of my former professors and classmates and coworkers are disappointed or confused.

Though I’ve got a bent toward doing everything possible to impress you, that’s not what I truly desire above everything else.

My deepest desire is faithfulness to my dear Savior Jesus.

Obeying Jesus is less popular nowadays, and that’s ok. I know following Jesus is unpopular, so it tracks that being a vocational minister won’t make sense to most people.

But, I’ve got a feeling that faithfulness beats being impressive in eternity, and I’ll be the first to say I’ve got some practicing of that truth to do. Doing vocational ministry is humbling in the best ways.

I don’t know what the Lord has called you to do in this season. It might be a marketing director or HR manager or teacher.

Regardless of your job title, I can say with confidence that what He has called you to do is love Him and others, to obey Him and to serve His church.

I’m doing just that — and it happens to be in the form of being a college minister for Sunnybrook Christian Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma right now. Why?

Because I haven’t found anything more worthy of my life (and now my job) to than Jesus.

— Rachel

Thank you so much for reading!

My hope is that you might be encouraged & challenged, and that these blogs might spark life-giving conversations. I would love to hear from you and connect, so shoot me a message on Instagram or Facebook, or leave a response to this piece. Or hey, we could talk in person over coffee or sparkling water; that’s kind of my jam.

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Rachel Madden

expert in laughing at all my own jokes. rookie adult. lover of puns & fun. follower of Jesus.