Choosing a career is never an easy decision to make because it will affect what you’re going to be doing on a daily basis for many years. There are so many ways to make money in this world, but not all of them align with your values or beliefs. With an abundance of career options on the table, there’s no reason to settle for a job that isn’t as fulfilling as it is lucrative. In fact, some jobs offer just as much personal reward as they do financial gain, especially for dedicated Christians who want to make a positive impact in their communities. If you’ve been trying to decide on a career path that you can feel good about, here are the 17 most fulfilling community-oriented careers to consider:
1. Social Worker
Social work gives you a broad range of specializations to choose from, so you can be very specific about the kind of people you want to help through your professional efforts. You could help recovering addicts defeat drug dependencies, keep local families abuse-free, or provide guidance to the youth in an academic setting. This is also a relatively simple and straightforward career path, with some degrees and job positions being available after only 2 years of education. Of course, there are also many continued learning paths that you can take to earn a masters in social work and obtain more prestigious and higher-paying salaries.
Being a teacher gives you the opportunity to educate and guide young people from a position of authority on a daily basis. Thus, teachers often become some of the most memorable influencers in the lives of children and adolescents. You probably even have a few special teachers stored in your memory for their unforgettable contributions to your development. As an influential teacher, one piece of advice that you give today could affect a decision that someone makes decades from now as an adult, so you’ll also have the ability to make a profound and lasting impact with your words.
3. Pastor, Deacon, etc.
Of course, becoming a pastor or another kind of spiritual leader is a commendable goal and one that is only cut out for a very committed and disciplined individual. The church needs more people who are willing to step up to the plate and play this role. So, if you think you have what it takes to deliver powerful, thought-invoking sermons, this might be a career path to consider. You can take courses to improve your public speaking and charisma, so that your preaching will be more effective. Starting your own church also comes with significant tax and financial benefits, making it one of the best ways to become financially comfortable while also providing a much-needed service to your community.
4. Youth Mentor
Becoming a mentor for a local youth group or taking up a career that will have you providing guidance to the youth on a regular basis is a good way to make sure you’re influencing the next generation of society’s decision-makers. Instilling strong values in the youth is something that we need more people to focus on in this increasingly secular and emotionally distant world that we live in. Some of the other jobs on this list will let you become a youth mentor, but you don’t necessarily even need a career to take up this long-term commitment to greatness.
5. Local Politician
A lot of people talk bad about politicians because there has been so much corruption in politics. However, that’s all the more reason for morally sound people to start making contributions. The bottom line is, there’s a massive need for benevolent politicians to offset the inevitable corruption that comes with any position of power. Local politics are generally less corrupt than national politics, but that’s not always the case. Whether you just want to become the mayor or have visions of becoming the governor, any part you play would be better than standing by and doing nothing at all.
6. Store Clerk
Why would a store clerk be something that a community leader would consider doing? Well, sometimes people choose a job not only for the income but also for the opportunity it gives them to socialize with others. Everyone shops at the grocery store, so clerks get to leisurely interact with hundreds or thousands of people in the course of a month. While it’s certainly possible to go your whole life without saying much to a store clerk, you do run into those friendly types that can brighten your day at the register.
7. Financial Advisor
Giving people financial advice is an extremely underrated and heavily overlooked aspect of keeping someone on the right path, not only financially but also spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Having to deal with a mound of ever-growing debt is obviously something that can challenge a person’s faith and create all sorts of hardships for them in the long-term. Likewise, failed investments and business losses can be equally stressful and can make some believers feel as though their money prayers simply aren’t being answered. Since God isn’t a totalitarian dictator who directly grants wishes on command like a genie, it’s important for us to realize that we are supposed to be the answer to each others’ prayers in this physical realm. It’s the old “ask and you shall receive” concept – God helps those who helps themselves and also those who seek help from others. With a degree in financial advisory, you could very well be that kind of financial angel for the people of your community.
Like politicians, lawyers also get a bad rap, because in many cases it does seem as if they’re getting paid to lie on behalf of their clients. The logic that every “lawyer” must be a “liar” comes not only from the ironic phonic similarities between those two words, but also from the logic that every accused criminal cannot be innocent. Therefore, any time a lawyer is defending a client who is submitting a not guilty plea but is in fact guilty, then it would seem that the accusation of dishonesty would be true in those cases. However, there are many types of law you can practice and you have the freedom to choose which clients you represent. So, instead of being a paid liar, you could be a voice of justice and the saving grace for the wrongly accused.
Judges clearly have a lot of authority and pull within their communities because they decide the fates of any people within the course of a single working day. If you feel as though you’re a good judge of character and you want to help the criminal justice system become more fair and reasonable, becoming a judge could give you the ability to grant leniency to some and dole out deserved punishment. When you consider the fact that many people find God and take a heightened interested in Christ while incarcerated, you could also be helping to rehabilitate people and point them towards a more enlightened path.
10. Law Enforcement Officer
It goes without saying that the police are also not very well-liked in many urban circles, so becoming a police officer might even be the furthest thing from your mind. However, that kind of mentality is exactly why there are so many corrupt cops out there – there simply aren’t enough genuinely good-willed people signing up for the job. If you’ve always felt that the cops should be kinder to members of the community and fulfill their stated duty of protecting and serving, why not be that change you wish to see in the world?
Business owners can have considerable impacts in their communities by celebrating holidays, sponsoring outreach efforts, and spreading a positive and cheer vibe with customers. This is similar to the store clerk approach in that it is another way to become an unavoidable pillar in your community. If you own a local business, eventually most people who live in your area will take notice of your brand and the way you operate it. Holding yourself to a high standard of corporate ethics and practicing the teachings of Christ in your everyday business affairs will help you lead by example.
Doctors hold the well-being of so many patients in their hands on a daily basis, so this is a profession that allows you to be the catalyst through which healing and recovery occur. The medical industry is also facing an extensive shortage in physicians, so you’d have an in-demand and high-paying career that would give you the option of relocating just about anywhere and still having a high chance of finding a job. This is another route that is commendable due to the amount of commitment it takes to follow through on a 4-8 years medical degree program.
Nursing is another industry that is facing a widespread shortage of skilled professionals, so you’ll be helping your community fill that gap. With baby boomers making up a significant portion of the nursing workforce and many of them set to retire within the next 5-10 years, the next generation of nurses will need to start stepping up to the plate to avoid an increasingly burdensome shortage that will make emergency waiting rooms lines even more lengthy than they already are. Thus, in many ways you’ll actually be saving lives in your community by speeding up the triage, intake, and patient care processes in local hospital and clinics.
Counselors are always in a great position to help people in their communities excel because they’re tasked with providing advice on a wide range of topics. People trust their counselors enough to share their toughest problems and deepest concerns with them, so you’ll be in the perfect spot to provide spiritual and moral guidance and support to your clients. Similar to social work, the field of counseling also provides many specialization options, so you could be a marriage counselor, school counselor, or family counselor, for example.
Writing news stories for your local paper will let you put a positive slant in the papers and also focus on topics that are enriching. This is important because there’s so much bad news being highlighted on a national and global scale that local journalists really need to make an effort to showcase the good being done in their communities. With a job as a journalist, you’ll have the ability to write stories and conduct interviews that will give your area’s most valuable residents the credit and recognition they deserve for their efforts.
16. Coach, Instructor, or Physical Therapist
Becoming a sports coach, life coach, fitness instructor, or physical therapist is a great way for you to help people strengthen their mind, body, spirit simultaneously. Plus, these aren’t strictly physical occupations because there are always opportunities to talk to your clients and students about their personal problems or to provide words of encouragement and motivation that will help them improve their fitness and heal from injuries.
Finally, becoming a librarian is a great job for anyone who wants to interact with other intellectuals regularly. Libraries are also serene and peaceful environments that are usually conducive to prayer and relaxation, so it’s a good low-stress job that lets you have an occasional influence on your community’s most inquisitive minds. Plus, many churches have attached libraries and gift shops that hire librarians.
What About the Rest of the World?
Now that you know about the kind of jobs that will let you help people in your local area, you could start looking for ways to expand your positive outreach globally online. You could start a blog and publish enriching posts periodically, start an international charity, or just spread the gospel on social media through creative media and infographics. All of the above careers typically come with very structured and predictable schedules, so you should have plenty of free time for your own spiritual development.