4 Tips for a Better Church Job Search

by Sarah Hogan, Vanderbloemen Search Group

Even in a vocation like ministry (which is more of a calling than mere employment), the job search can be frustrating, confusing, and exhausting. I’ve not only personally experienced how soul-draining it can be to send out hundreds of resumes, seemingly into the void, but I’ve also encountered many pastors going through the same, sometimes-defeating process. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that would have made my own job search much easier.

Here are 4 tips to keep you motivated and encouraged in your job search:

1. Know yourself.

Before you begin submitting your resume for consideration for any role, take some time for self-reflection. What passions has God placed on your heart? How can you leverage your skills and experience to live out those passions? What are your strongest gifts, and in what areas can you continue to develop?

The best way to prepare for a job search is to fully know yourself.

Along with praying and spending time in introspection, you can ask trusted mentors for their insight to gain an honest view of yourself. Sometimes we are unable to see weaknesses and blind spots without an outside perspective. Seek out a discipleship plan and stay committed to investing in that relationship.

2. Know what you want. Don’t be desperate. 

Once you have an accurate portrait of who you are and what you can bring to the table, you can begin to pinpoint which roles you’d like to pursue. This also means that you can eliminate roles that aren’t a good match for your experience, skill set, personality, and theology. Know yourself well enough to be aware of your weaknesses or areas in need of improvement.

In confidently knowing yourself, you can pursue the ministry roles for which you know you are well suited, rather than expressing interest in every position that you might possibly be able to fill.

3. Be fully committed to your current job.

Very few ministry staff will be at one church in one position for their entire lives. However, this doesn’t mean you should always be looking around for the next opportunity, even if your current role isn’t turning out to be the best fit for you. Give your ministry position 100 percent while you’re there. You can still be preparing for God to call you elsewhere without mentally checking out of where you are.

Ask God to give you the strength, focus, and commitment necessary to do your very best each day that you are still charged with the privilege and responsibility of your ministry. Trust that in time He will lead you to your next role and find peace in knowing your path has already been laid out for you.

4. Persistence is good, harassment is bad.

The best analogy for this tip is a dating one. A man who is persistent often can win over a woman who may have initially been hesitant to date him. But without enough self-awareness and emotional intelligence, persistence can quickly devolve into harassment, and you don’t want to cross that line.

If you’re interested in a particular role, following up once or maybe twice at the most, is good. It shows that you’re proactive and a go-getter. Beyond that point, however, you’re veering dangerously towards harassment territory. No one likes to be called, emailed, and texted multiple times a week—not in dating, and not in the job search. So, if you’re tempted to over-communicate your eagerness about and interest in a role, take a deep breath, and step away from your phone or computer. You’ve done the work, and now it’s up to God and the search team to decide how to proceed.

What are some strategies that have helped you in your job search?

This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here