I post very little on this forum but I can directly relate to your note and so...
I read the replies, you received some good advice. Here's my input:
I've only been Orthodox since 2008. Before that, I spent a decade in various non-denom evangelical ministries with a focus on men's ministry and music. In 2007, we had to relocate to a new city for my health. In a very short time, I again became involved with the local church community and a few ministries, helping where I could.
Rather than describe my "journey to Orthodoxy", I'm going to skip a lot of details and cut to the specific day I chose to become Orthodox: I was eating lunch and got a reply to an email I'd sent to Matthew Gallatin a few weeks earlier. The funny thing is that when my Blackberry pinged, I had a burrito in one hand and was about to turn a page of his book with the other. Supernatural statistics like that are my own little burning bushes. At that moment, after a year of intense research, months and months of sleepless nights and internal arguments, my wife's prayers were answered. I chose to become Orthodox.
That very afternoon (I call it Ortho Monday) I was supposed to become the director of a new evangelical/compassion ministry that would have paid a generous salary, plus housing and benefits. The board members, men from various churches, all knew me, loved me and were excited about the work that we would be doing. I loved them, too. They were a good group of hard workers, all with a long track record of helping around the country. I had chosen that job over a half dozen other offers from churches and ministries here in the US because I thought it was a perfect fit.
That afternoon, I had to turn the job down. Because I chose to become Orthodox, I could not, in good conscience, do what was required of me in that particular ministry without compromising in inappropriate areas. I wasn't completely candid with the board but they knew me well enough to know I had to have sound sound reasons. Now, a year and a half later, the board members and their families are still friends and I meet with one or another of them every few weeks and always wind up discussing Orthodoxy with them. And they are still trying to get that ministry afloat.
By the way Kevin... on Ortho Monday, I was an unemployed 52 year old man, a husband and a father of a special needs son. We were then living in a travel trailer. No pension, almost no savings left, etc. And... I've been fighting an uphill battle with cancer since 2004 (not healed yet, prayer welcome). I had to choose between the Truth or a job. Fears? Yes indeed. I imagine Gideon was a little nervous at times, too. And even George Mueller probably had a twinge every now and then. But no regrets, not one.
Vocationally, I wound up getting back into making records for people, something I've been doing since the mid-70's. It's a slow climb back up that ladder in these unique economic times but my wife and I have no regrets. Yes, I miss being immersed in the types of ministries I was involved with. It is very different for me in the Orthodox Church. Thank God, for we are blessed beyond measure.
I have a question for you... I was the one who stood between my wife and Orthodoxy for three years. She suffered because of me. Is your wife against it or merely uninterested? For the time being, forget all the talk about being a deacon or priest... focus on learning exactly what your wife needs and prioritizing that, especially as you consider a change as dramatic as this. She and your children are your first and most important ministry. God, family, everything and everyone else (including ministry).
Kevin, I understand the pain and uncertainty you find yourself in. I personally know a few pastors who are now in that same private struggle, pastors who are beginning to live in a deepening emotional conflict, knowing the Truth and yet continuing to teach what their particular denomination demands. You too will be in my prayers.
Lord have mercy on all of us.
I have felt a strong pull toward orthodoxy off and on for many years. But over the past few, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I have been able to immerse myself more fully in orthodox spirituality. I have convinced myself that if I was not a United Methodist pastor, I would have converted awhile ago.
This is my problem. I am trained to be a pastor. It is the only job I have ever had. By being a United Methodist pastor, not only do I have a pension and health insurance, my house is also provided for me. I have a wife and three children. As I count the cost of leaving behind being a pastor to become Orthodox...it seems too much. Perhaps it may be possible that I could be a deacon or priest, but there is no guarantee there. I do believe that God has given me grace to have a pastoral ministry. But, the insecurity of stepping out of the benefits of being a United Methodist pastor is scary, perhaps irresponsible.
The priest at the Greek church (Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Cincinnati, OH), has encouraged me to continue to pray and read and be patient. Agreed. But are there any former Protestant pastors that can share how they moved to Orthodoxy and still provided for their families?