Dear Candidate,

As someone who has been seeking a new ministry position for over 4 months now, I thought it would be helpful to post some thoughts about it. In part 1, I wrote a letter to Search Teams from the perspective of a candidate.

I also asked those on the Search Team side the following question: “If you could say 2-3 things to a search team, what would it be?”
Here are the thoughts, distilled down for you:

  • Know Yourself.
    • Know what you believe and why you believe it. Yes, be teachable, but know where you are theologically. Know your grey areas, as well as your lines.
    • Know your spiritual gifts. Understand how God has gifted you supernaturally, as well as your talents and skill sets.
    • Know your strengths and weaknesses.*
  • Pray.
    • About the opportunity.
    • For yourself.
    • For the church and their Search Team.
  • Know What You  Are Applying For.
    • Read the Job Description carefully. What are the main responsibilities? Who reports to you? Who do you report to?
      • Pro Tip: Have a friend review it and look for soft spots. When  you get that interview, press hard on those bruises. Ask for clarification. Get them to update the Job Description.
    • Research the church. Look at their website, review their beliefs, look at their leadership page, read their position papers (if they have them). Read their online newsletters, and look them up on Facebook. They are looking at your social media presence…do the same to them.
    • Approach those 82 million page questionnaires with caution. DO NOT COMPLETE IT IN ONE SITTING. Take your time. Have someone else review it for errors, content and clarity. Pay close attention to the questions being asked. There is a reason for every single one of them. As with the Job Description, look for trends. These questionnaires provide tremendous insight into the organization.
    • Research the community. Perform a Cost of Living analysis. Housing, schools, the location of Starbucks…this all matters (especially that last one).
  • Be Professional.
    • Review your resume often. Check for typographical errors. Have someone else look at it.
    • Personalize the cover letter. If you saw something that really caught your attention on the Job Description or website, point it out.
    • Use a professional email address.
    • If you have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc (and you should) be mindful of what you post. This is your brand. Protect it (This is a work in progress for me). Also, be mindful of what others post on your Facebook wall. Adjust your privacy settings so that you approve what goes onto your timeline.

In closing, God’s got a place for you.

The Search Committee.

*Some churches will ask for them, others will not. I recommend these things because they are helpful in getting to know yourself.  As you see the responses, spend time in prayer asking God to reveal what you might learn about yourself. Spend time in thought asking yourself what may be true. Ask others if they see these things in you.


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