Tom Bump on How a Blindside Clarified His Mission to Help Other Pastors Through the Hard SeasonsMar 31, 2023
Can God turn a blindside into a blessing? And turn our pain into a renewed sense of purpose? Yes he can! And we’ll explain how this played out in one pastor’s life in this episode of the More Than a Pastor Show. Let’s get started!
Links for Today's Show
- Tom Bump & KMC Coaching: www.tombump.com
- Restoring Leaders: www.restoringleaders.org
- Watch this Episode on YouTube
- Leave Me a Review: More Than a Pastor on Apple Podcasts
- Free 30-Min Coaching Session: www.morethanapastor.com/coaching
- Read my Last Post: How to Build Authority with a Podcast
Blindsided Pastor Turns His Pain into His Passion to Help Other Pastors Through the Hard Seasons
Have you noticed in your own life, or maybe someone else’s, how it often takes something bad happening to us, like losing our job, to finally launch us into pursuing a vision we’ve had for some time, but we didn’t have the courage to pursue it.
Maybe we kept thinking the time wasn’t right, or we didn’t have enough money, or we wanted to wait for other conditions to be just right…before we pursued that thing we knew God was calling us to do.
And then all of a sudden, something major happens, and the things that were holding us back suddenly fade away, or they’re no longer as important.
I know that’s happened in my own life. And that’s exactly what happened to our guest today, Tom Bump. And I’m excited to have him share his story on how a blindside in his church launched him on a mission to help pastors through the hard seasons of life and ministry.
Helping You Grow Your Income and Build Financial Security
But before we get into the conversation with Tom, howsabout you and I just have a conversation together for a minute. What if, next week, you got blindsided and were let go by your church? Do you know what you’d do to provide for your family?
Or what if your church has to make some serious financial cutbacks because of declining attendance and giving, inflation, or something else? What would YOU do? Or have you had a vision for another type of business or ministry that you’ve wanted to pursue alongside your church, or maybe in the future, but you’re just now sure how to get started, or if it’s even right for you?
What if you had someone you could talk to about your fears or hopes or dreams, a safe place where you could ask questions and find clarity, from another pastor who’s been there, understand what you’re going through and is here to help you find the clarity and courage you need to take your next step?
If this sounds like something that’s right for you, why don’t you apply for one of my free coaching sessions. You can learn more at morethanapastor.com/coaching.
Introducing Tom Bump
I’m so glad to have Tom Bump with me on the show today. I got to know Tom through the Market Your Message Community, hosted by our friend Jonathan Milligan. And I was thrilled to learn that Tom was a fellow pastor, Michigan Wolverines fan (Go Blue!), and message-based entrepreneur on a mission to serve other pastors.
Tom is the founder of Restoring Leaders, a ministry that offers individualized mentoring and group retreats to help hurting, overwhelmed, and burned-out leaders live restored and lead renewed. He is also the author of Valleys over Mountains: A Guide Through the Hard Seasons, where he recounts his experiences of going through hard seasons, or low valley points, in his life and ministry, and how God used those things to prepare him for the next mountain top experience.
Tom is the host of the Kids Ministry Collective Podcast. And through KMC Coaching, he helps churches develop their family ministries strategies and grow their teams. Tom speaks nationally at ministry conferences, camps, and training programs. And if you’re ready to book your next family vacation, or even a missions trip, Tom is also a travel agent. You’ll find him online at TomBump.com.
And now let’s get to our conversation with Tom Bump!
Highlights from the Full Interview
How Tom Got Started in Pastoral Ministry
Tom literally grew up in the church, since his dad was a pastor, and he has been involved in ministry for most of his life. His dad pastored in small churches in small communities, and Tom started serving as a child in children’s ministry and then youth ministry, which fueled his passion for family ministries. God used those experiences to prepare him for becoming a full-time pastor, working in various roles in churches as small as 40-50 people and in a multi-site church of 5,000+.
Discovering He Was More Than a Pastor
Tom realized he was more than a pastor when he was told he was no longer a pastor! He was serving in a “dream job” position at a church, but it turned into a nightmare. He had been in a sweet spot in terms of using his gifts and talents. But sadly, a change in leadership led to some serious changes in philosophy of ministry, and he was let go.
This forced Tom to quickly look for ways to support his young family. He started working with a guy who did painting and carpet cleaning, and Tom excelled at developing those skills. Then he began to think of all the things he was good at, and what other skills he could develop, so if he ever had a transition season in the future, he would be well prepared for it.
Previously, God had given Tom a vision to become a pastor to pastors, but he kept putting it off because he knew it would take time to develop it into something that was financially sustainable outside of his church role. He calls it his "Jonah" season.
But when he was fired, it turned out to be exactly what he needed. Despite feeling hurt by the experience, Tom walked out with a severance package and a sense of relief. He called his wife and told her he was done and she encouraged him to move forward with the new mission they knew God had given him.
A short time later he found himself with several coaching clients and even got hired by a pastor to work with his team. Tom learned that being “more than a pastor” can be exciting and fulfilling, and he feels like he's right where he belongs.
From Blindside to Building a Mission
Tom now serves as a pastor to pastors and a leadership coach, helping churches develop their family ministry strategies. He’s also a travel agent. And he launched that mission for hurting, overwhelmed and burned out leaders, called Restoring Leaders, where he walks with leaders going through the hard seasons, and helps them live restored and lead renewed.
Vocations Can Change While the Calling Remains the Same
While Tom is not currently engaged in paid ministry in a church, he believes he is actually doing more ministry now than ever before. He loves being a "pastor to pastors," providing encouragement, support, and a safe space for church leaders to vent and seek advice.
Tom believes that his calling has not changed, but his job description and title have, and he now has the opportunity to serve and support multiple churches and communities. Tom is also passionate about helping leaders stay healthy and avoid burnout, and he suggests that having a side business or vocation can actually support and enhance their ministry work.
How the Pandemic has Affected Pastors and Churches
Tom believes the pandemic has ushered in a season of shifting and sifting for the church. It has shifted the way many churches are doing ministry today. Obviously, everything changed during the COVID lockdowns when everyone went online. And now things are different again in many places, as they adapt to a new reality of fewer worshippers, fewer volunteers, and smaller budgets. Which leads to the sifting the church, as they have to reduce their budgets and eliminate positions. Sadly, we're in a season where many leaders in the children’s and family ministries area are losing their positions due to financial cutbacks.
Tom notes that the average size of a church in America is less than 300 people, and that many pastors in these smaller churches are making less now than they were before because of stagnant offerings, which has raised their stress levels and has caused some to leave the church.
Many pastors know they need to look for a second job or other ways to support their families, but they question whether it would make them less of a pastor. Tom believes it is wise for pastors to create multiple streams of income outside the church. But don't view those businesses as being outside your ministry. See them as kingdom businesses that exist for the purpose of creating abundance not only for yourself, but also for God's kingdom, and giving you new opportunities to connect and share Christ with people you might not encounter through your typical pastoral ministry.
Pastors Need to Overcome a Poverty Mindset
Mindset is a big issue for many pastors. And Tom shared how many leaders struggle with their identity in Christ, tying what they do with who they are, making their vocation their identity. He talks about how his own father, who has always been a pastor, started his own ministry because he didn't know how to stop, and his vocation and identity became twisted.
Tom suggests that leaders need to realize that their vocation is what they do, but their identity is who God says they are, how God has wired them, made them, and what he's called them to do.
He emphasizes that leaders need to spend some time thinking it through because the vocation will change. He also discusses the poverty mindset that many pastors have, and how we need to move beyond that and live in the abundance that God has for us. We are worthy of God’s abundant provision. It is OK for us to earn income outside of the church. It is a matter of stewardship that we use the skills, talents, abilities, and other resources that God has given us to creat abundance for ourselves and for others.
Why Tom Wrote Valleys Over Mountains
Tom wrote a book called, Valleys over Mountains: A Guide Through the Hard Seasons, about his experiences going through hard seasons and facing the ugly side of the church. He says the book is small and not super profound, in his words, but it was a journey of love for him. Through a restoration process, Tom refocused his mind and realized his calling and vocation were separate. He learned from his experiences and is now able to serve other people through leadership coaching and restoring leaders.
When Tom was going through his worst, he searched for help but found that many pastor restoration and renewal retreats and resources were out of reach because they were so expensive. That led him to offer his events for free or on a donation basis, so they are accessible for every pastor. He does offer courses and trainings for a fee, and the proceeds all support his ministry.
Pastors Should Leverage Their Skills into Extra Income
A pastor's gifts and talents are a gift from God, and those gifts should be stewarded and leveraged to help others. If God has given you the ability to create and produce more, it's a matter of stewardship that you pursue that. Tom shared how he has struggled with undervaluing his work, which he believes many other pastors struggle with, getting back to the poverty mentality. Tom now has more confidence in setting his coaching fees and does not apologize for them.
Connecting with Tom
Tom has a couple of different websites for KMC Coaching and Restoring Leaders, but they all can be found by going to TomBump.com. To connect with him personally, send him an email at [email protected].
The Last Word from Tom
"Rich, thanks for having me on the show. And thank you for doing what you do because I wished I had had somebody challenging me to think about being more than a pastor. Because, again, I think my poverty mindset didn't allow me to think about that for a while for the longest time. And I hurt myself and hurt my family. Because I didn't think of myself that way. So I'm glad you've got this platform and I hope that God can do He needs to enlarge it. Because I think more pastors need to find you and need your coaching and help. Because you've got a lot of wisdom to share."
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