ajax-loader

Christian Employment Articles

  • Share:

7 Suggestions When Interviewing for a Ministry Position

By: Ron Edmondson

I serve on the board of a local youth leadership program. These students are the top of their class, so the entry is competitive. Part of qualifying process is an interview with board members — most who are seasoned business and community leaders. I am always reminded in the process how interviewing, as critical as it is to acquiring a position, is not something everyone knows how to do — regardless of their other accomplishments.

I’ve found that to be true in the church also. And, in business when I was in that world. I have hired dozens, maybe hundreds of people in my career — which means I’ve interviewed lots of people. Some people do better at interviewing than others.

I decided to offer some advice from the hiring side of the table. Since my blog is read mostly by church leaders, I am speaking primarily from that perspective.

Here are 7 suggestions for interviewing for a church staff position:

Know the church. Do as much research as you can about the church, it’s history and its culture. Obviously, read all you can online. Ask who will be in the interview and what role they have in the church. Google can be your friend in researching these people. Find out if you have any connections in the church. (LinkedIn can be a great source as it shows you connections to your connections.)

Be honest. This is critical. They need to know you and you need to know them — as openly as possible in a formal setting like this. The worst thing for you personally would be to land a job where you would be miserable — or make them miserable. Plus, in my experience, the more honest and transparent you are — even about your weaknesses or past failures — the more attractive you will be as a candidate — if you’re a fit for the role.

Be upbeat. I’ve learned this is especially difficult if you are nervous — or, like me — an introvert. The main concern in adding staff at most churches is that the person be a good fit for the church and current team. Show you’re easy to get along with, fun and likable. Have a firm handshake. Look people in the eye. But, balance this with also attempting to be yourself. It’s obvious if you’re trying too hard. Especially on a first interview, the key should be to connect with those in your interview.

Be humble. If you’ve had past success, don’t take all the credit. Share the victories with others, knowing that most likely you couldn’t have succeeded without them. It’s a much more appealing approach. Use the word “we” more than “me” or “I”. While you need to demonstrate your ability to perform, keep in mind arrogance is never an attractive quality in a team member. 

Appear competent without appearing controlling. There is a huge difference between being able to lead with confidence and being a bullying leader. Churches are places where people need to be empowered. Your goal should be to demonstrate a care and love for people (which should be genuine), while assuring you have the tenacity and courage to lead boldly. That’s a delicate balance every church needs.

Be forward thinking but celebratory of history – Most churches, even after a difficult period, continue to remain proud of their heritage. (This is where researching the church as much as you can helps.) The worst thing you can do is to bash the church or it’s culture. They may welcome your input to change, but you won’t endear them to you if you make them defensive about their history. Let them know you are willing to build on their past, but also willing to help them go wherever God leads in the future.

Pray – It should go without saying, but pray before and after the interview and ask others to pray with you. (Although as I’ve seen people do, I wouldn’t necessarily post this on Facebook.) In the end, you want this to be a God-thing — not a man-made thing. You don’t want to take the position if it’s not of God. I believe God often gives tremendous latitude and freedom in choosing our place of service, and we should represent Him with our best appearance, but in the end, we want to be in the center of His will.

More Articles

How Personal Branding Can Help You in Your Church Job Search
Recently, I was in conversation with one of my colleagues about the importance of personal branding. He looked at me with a quizzical expression on his face as I described it. This stopped me in ...   Read More
The Primary Cause of Job Burnout The gold standard job burnout assessment is the 22-question Maslach Burnout Inventory  (“MBI”) by University of California, Berkeley psychology professor, ...   Read More
How do you know when God is closing one door in ministry and opening another? I get this question a lot and have previously addressed it, but recently I have received it more frequently so I decided ...   Read More
In all my years of interviewing people and helping people with their resume I continue to see the “general resume” that is sent out as a mass mailer. People use the same resume for every position ...   Read More
Pastors toss me this issue regularly.  Somewhere in the archives of our website, I’m sure we’ve dealt with this subject.  However, with over 2,000 articles and no index of these ...   Read More
More Articles

Books & Resources

  • Professional Resume Writing Service

    Professional Resume Writing Service

    Price:
    $99.95
    Description:
    Need to get your resume around but don't know where to start? Our resume writing service will help you get an effective, professional resume. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • Quitter

    Quitter

    Price:
    $19.99
    $11.99
    Description:
    Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you’d love to do? >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • Professional Resume Tune-Up

    Professional Resume Tune-Up

    Price:
    $49.95
    Description:
    How effective is your resume? The quality of your resume will many times dictate the quality of the job interviews and offers you receive. >> More Information
    Add To Cart