How not to look for a ministry job

Starting around March 2013, I started my search for a full-time ministry position. It was a long, difficult process, and I wasn’t a big fan of it. I was incredibly blessed to finally receive a job offer from Fairforest Baptist Church in January 2014, but my road to get there was full of mistakes. Here’s a list of things NOT to do while looking for a ministry/church position.

1) Get Really Excited About a Position

The Problem

I looked at hundreds of job postings on various websites, and occasionally got personal referrals. I frequently got excited about one or many aspects of job postings, be it the responsibilities, location, expected office hours (note to search teams: the less, the better!), or mission of the church. And frequently, I has horribly disappointed. Either I got an email saying “lol like we’d hire you” (paraphrase mine) or just never heard anything back from them. Occasionally I received a letter in the mail, which was nice, but still stung from rejection. I even made it to the final two candidates at one church and had every indication that they would pick me. But they didn’t, and I was crushed.

The Solution

Job postings can be exciting, interviews can be exciting, and opportunities can be exciting. But you’re searching for the place God is calling you. God will direct you to the right place in His time. Decide what kind of position you want and search for job postings that fit your values, but the right time to get excited is when you’re moving books into your new office.

2) Continue to Pursue a Job You Have a Weird Feeling About

The Problem

As a Christian you have been given the Holy Spirit to help you discern His will. And yes, sometimes discernment comes in the form of “feeling funny”. So if a church wants to bring you in for an interview, but you feel funny about it, do NOT be flaky and try to get them to stop considering you as a candidate. (This is totally not at all from personal experience and also totally is).

The Solution

If you have a gut feeling that a church isn’t right for you, it’s probably the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Just ask the church to remove you from consideration. There is no shame in this. Don’t ignore any pull from the Spirit, whether toward a church or away from one. He has promised to guide you, and He will.

3) Try to Impress the Interviewers

The Problem

At several interviews, I tried really hard to be who I thought they wanted me to be. I listened to what they were asking and worked off my assumptions to say what I thought they wanted to hear. This is arguably the worst thing you could do at an interview for what may be God’s calling on your life. Not only does this give the interviewers a false representation of you, but it may lead to you being unhappy in a church that doesn’t fit your personality.

The Solution

By the time I met the leadership team at Fairforest, I had been rejected1 by more churches than I could count. I was spiritually worn and emotionally drained. I decided “I’m just going to be myself and if they don’t like me that’s fine.” I finally figured out that I wasn’t trying to impress people… I was seeking God to find where He was sending me. By surrendering my desire to impress others, I was able to hear and answer His call.

1. “Rejected”, I now realize, is not the correct word. I wasn’t rejected, I just hadn’t found the right church yet. But rejection is what I was feeling.

5 thoughts on “How not to look for a ministry job

  1. Nicely done. I can relate to much of your post as someone also new in ministry and at my first church. One thing I also learned is that my list of questions to ask the church was woefully inadequate. If I ever go through the search team experience again I will have a completely different approach and a brand new list of questions based on experience this time.

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