Pastoral Committees Want to See a Ministry Résumé
Recently (2012), the National Association of Christian Ministers conducted a survey of its membership. The goal was to determine how many ministers have developed resumes for their calls to ministry. The results were quite alarming.
1166 ordained ministers responded to the survey questions:
Do you have a résumé for yourself as a minister?
- 64% Said, “No I do not.”
- 18% Said, “Yes I have one.”
- 18% Said, “I have been meaning to get around to writing one.
Do you think having a ministry résumé might help pastors find jobs in churches?
- 74% Said, “Yes.”
- 23% Said, “I don’t know. I never thought about it.”
- 3% Said, “No.”
In other words, 82% of respondents do not have a résumé, and only 18% of them have been planning to write one.
These results may suggest:
- The idea that “all ministers” are pastors or church overseeres is a stereotype. It may be that the majority of ministers are not seeking positions within traditional churches.
- Another possibility is that many ministers may not view their callings as a “profession.”
- Even still, there are many who are looking to pastor churches. In fact, a large percentage of ministers are earning graduate degrees from seminaries that will leave them with as much as $20-$50 thousand dollars in student debts. They are looking at ministry professionally and will have to be compensated for their work. In such cases, those who are seeking professional pastoral positions without résumés are under-prepared to find work in this area of ministry. A brief review of leading church placement websites shows that nearly every pastoral committee requests a resume as a first point of contact for consideration. Potential applicants without these documents will find themselves in positions where they cannot even introduce themselves for consideration.
The advantage clearly remains for ministers who take the time to prepare themselves with ministry résumés. This single step can place them among the small percentage of 18% who are seeking positions in ministry. Whether or not ministers seek to serve professionally, or even in laity, creating these professional documents of work history seems to position them into win-win situations.