Q & R: From a 23 year-old reader

A reader writes:

I am not sure if you will read this as I am sure you are a very busy person with all your reading, writing, speaking, traveling and such, particularly with a new book coming out (congratulations by the way and I look forward to reading it!). But in your books it seems that people flood your in box with messages asking for your input and advice into their lives, so, seeing as your books have helped me so much, I figured I would give it a shot.
I am a 23 year old living outside the US. Ever seen I was 15 all I wanted to be was an Anglican Priest, and straight out of High School I went to college to get my Degree in Theology. When I turned 21, I was allowed join the Anglican Seminary and begin my training as a Priest. However it was not what I thought it was going to be and I really clashed and struggled with the Program and with the Leadership of the Seminary. I loved my Parish Placement, learning ‘Priestcraft’ as my training priest called it but I just hated living at the Seminary and the expectations on my study, training, formation and spirituality were far too great, particularly when I had to support myself finically. Anyway, I decided to leave the Seminary and now I feel really directionless. It’s like something I have wanted all my life (as short as it is) has been ripped away from me.
All I want to do is serve God and make the Dream of God a reality on Earth as it is in Heaven. Sometimes I consider my options in Church Planting, but I am afraid that the part of me that is afraid that it’s only because I “could’t cut it” in the “real” thing. Sometimes I think I will go back one day, but that frightens me so much and I just feel so embarrassed. Sometimes I consider branching out into a different denomination, and Metropolitan Community Church has really attracted me of late and maybe I am being called to be a Pastor there, but at the cost of losing my Anglicanism? That upsets me.
I just feel so lost at the moment and unsure of what to do with my life. I am not one of those people can “just” be a Sunday Christian. My hunger and drive is to preach, teach, lead, listen, minister, pray, heal, and comfit people. I know I am called to minister and lead in some where. I just don’t know.
I am not asking for you to guide me or to reveal the answer to me. I am just wondering what advice you could give a 23 year old Kingdom-hungry man?

Here’s the R:

Thanks for writing. As you would anticipate – I think you should find a trusted spiritual advisor/counselor to help you process through this – someone who can get to know you over time and work this through with the patience and attention it deserves. But let me offer you two additional responses – just from my “gut” so to speak.
First, knowing what I now know – having served as a church planter and pastor for 24 years – I would encourage you to take a few years and “make a living.” By that I mean to get and hold a job, struggle and excel in it, enjoy your coworkers, learn all that you can, and learn what life is like for “normal” people. If you do this for five or seven years and then become a priest, I am quite certain that your ministry will be forever enriched by your experience in the “real world.”
Second, let me assure you that church planting isn’t for people who can’t make it in traditional ministry. Traditional parish ministry is hard and church planting is every bit as hard – but in different ways. My belief is that we desperately need young leaders like yourself to become new church developers – not just as a career choice, but as a mission of innovation, evangelism, and theological research and development.
My prayers, and I trust the prayers of hundreds of readers of this blog, are with you today.