Classifieds, Resumes & Questionnaires

So most people who know me know that I am currently on a quest to find a church where I can serve.  I currently have my resume out at couple of churches. 

To give you an idea how this process works I thought I’d write up a post describing the how I’ve seen this work.

To start a ministry search you have to know where to begin.  This is fairly easy, but not really.  I use three main sources for finding open ministry positions. 

-          First, my Bible college, Ozark Christian College, has on their website a page with opened ministry positions. 

-          Second I use Youth Specialties’ website.

-          And third and probably most importantly I use word of mouth. 

I say this is easy, but not really, because while you may have some useful sites to find openings, it doesn’t necessarily give you a good idea on which church will be best for you.  Plus I’ve found it more difficult to hear the Spirit’s influence when I have a list like that in front of me.  Generally this is why I prefer word of mouth best.

Depending on whether you cold call or not will determine the type of immediate response by a church.  Sometime it results in a form letter (via e-mail of course) stating that they have your resume on file and are currently collecting additional resumes.  I don’t exactly know how to read these responses, sometimes I like to believe they are truly considering me and other times I quickly move on. 

This job search is rather unusual for me, in that every church I’ve worked with the position came to me rather easily.  Either I had one interview and I was quickly hired, or they cold called me offering the position on site (practically).  But for the past few years this has not been the case. 

Once contact has been made with a church, at least on several occasions, the church will try to gain some insight into me by having me fill out a questionnaire.  This will help them weed out candidates before they ever get to the actual interview process.  Here is a current questionnaire I am working on to give you some idea:

1.        Have you read the vision, goals and statement of faith I sent you?  Do you have any questions about any of these?  Do you agree with them?  (if not, please explain what you disagree with and why)

2.        How did you come to Christ? 

3.        What is your church background?

4.        What is your family background and how has that or does that effect your spiritual walk?

5.        Tell us about your relationship with Christ and how it’s grown recently?

6.        What discourages you, and if you are attacked spiritually, where are you first hit?

7.        What was the most exciting part of your last job in youth ministry?

8.        Why did you leave (or are you leaving) that position?

9.        How long do you see yourself at your next position in youth ministry?

10.     What are your long term career and life goals?

11.     What is your philosophy of ministry? 

12.     What do you see as your strengths?  How do you plan to capitalize on these strengths?

13.     What do you see as your weaknesses?  How do these weaknesses effect your ministry and how do you plan to compensate for them?

14.     Share a little about your last experience recruiting and training volunteers, including how many people you started with, and how many joined your team.

15.     Share a negative experience managing a volunteer.  How did you handle it?

16.     Do you consider yourself teachable?  Give an example of this trait from your last job.

17.     What areas do you see a need for growth in your next youth ministry experience? 

18.     What do you enjoy reading?  What have you’ve read lately?  What books or articles have greatly impacted you?

19.     What do you do to stay current with youth culture today?

20.     Have you ever written your own curriculum, discussion questions or training material?  Briefly share with us an example of something you wrote/developed and how it was received.

21.     Give an example of a positive quality or characteristic that you modeled, and as a result, saw it in the lives of your students.

22.     Share an example of a time when you modeled a negative behavior.

23.     Are there any areas of your life that may cause others to ask questions (i.e. use of alcohol, tobacco, entertainment choices, etc.)?

24.     Share a positive experience from your last youth ministry position where you acted as a team player.

25.     Share a negative experience with one of your co-workers and how the situation was handled.

26.     Give an example of a successful outreach program or event you put together?

27.     Give an example of programs, activities or events that you created to help kids spiritually grow.  What were some of the elements of these programs?

28.     Have you been involved or lead a short term mission trip with youth?  If you have tell us about how it went and what you would do differently. 

29.     In your last youth ministry job, how much one-on-one time did you spend each week with kids?

30.     Have you ever made an effort to contact “unchurched” kids?  If so, tell us about that experience.  How did you maintain the relationship?

31.     In the past, what avenues of contact have you used to connect with parents?  Which of these were most effective?

32.     How have you gone about setting a budget in your past ministry?

33.     What are your thoughts about fund raisers, sponsorships, and scholarships for youth trips/conventions/events?

34.     In your past youth ministry, how did you help students get involved in the church as a whole, not just the youth ministry?

35.     What else should we know about you?  What are your hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Yeah…not necessarily a multiple choice thing is it?

Once you arrive at the interview I have on a few occasions had two levels of interviews; a phone interview followed by the face to face.  I hate phone interviews.  I love my phone, but primarily for the texting, e-mailing, internet purposes, not for actually talking.  I always feel like a phone interview goes horrible, but after a face to face interview I tend to be rather confident. 

Now of course during this whole process prayer is essential.  No Christian wants to do something out of God’s ultimate will, and while I believe in our freedom to make choices, you still want to be guided by the Spirit in these choices.

After you have worked through all that and the church comes back and possibly offers the position, this is where listening in prayer and listening to your counsel play into actually making a decision.  Where rubber meets road. 

Hopefully you and the church have done the best to make sure long before an offer is made to ensure that you would be a good fit and a essential piece to their staffing puzzle, but sometimes the Spirit guides us away from both our heart’s desires and our head’s logic.    I would hate to arrive at a church and within months sudden feel like I was in the wrong place.  That would be both unhealthy for me and for the church. 


Anyways….this is extremely brief, but hopefully insightful. 


If any of you have some insights into the above questionnaire please feel free to help me.  Specifically on questions 12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 22 (be gentle), 23 or 35…


racheld said...

Dang...that is a lot of work...I will give insight to the ones you asked for later..I am feeling lazy now!
But #23. made me laugh and I would have offered insight weather you asked for it or not!!!!

carlyp said...

this makes me sad. mostly because I have been the wrong fit, and only stayed a few months. It sucked. I'm still dealing with it.
I hope that you find the right fit, and that your life is filled with joy!

i'm beccy. said...

Hey - just reading over this list makes me weary in my soul. I understand why they ask them, but when I had a job application this extensive, the sr. pastor ended up fired for sexual immorality (after causing much grief and chaos among his staff - so much so that a huge number of us didn't survive it.) Hang in there. I think you are terrific and would love to tell anyone so who is looking at hiring you. You are a great teacher - I loved sitting in on what you had to say. You are amazing at connecting with youth and making them feel significant, and letting them know that what they say is important. You are humble, willing to serve no matter where God plants you, even if it is under another youth pastor who is doing a job like what you wish you were doing at the moment. Pretty much I am a fan. :o)! Praying for your journey.

brandi nicole said...

so this is completely random, but i was just browsing carlos (ragamuffinsoul) blog & the comments that were left on his blog requesting sex/marital status. anyway, i noticed you were job searching and possibly looking for a youth ministry position?

i dont know your denominational preference or whether or not you're willing to relocate etc... but im also in full time youth ministry and i know of 2 really great churches that are looking. if you want to IM me sometime on AIM id love to give you the info (or blog comments work too.. AIM is just quicker) .. embracinggrace25 on aim :)

good luck on your search!