Ministry Resume Guide

Churches hire pastors and ministry leaders based on criteria that is different from what a secular organization requires. Things like education and work experience are important, but congregations are more interested in a candidate’s personal testimony, family life, community involvement, and ministry philosophy.

Be Real

The sections or parts of a ministry or church resume are similar to other resumes, except the focus is often on the role faith has played in your life. For example, what sets you apart? What personal experiences have you had (good and bad) that made you who you are today? What have you learned from your failures as a Christian? Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, don’t try to present yourself as something you are not.

Sections to include:

  1. Personal information. Include the name of your home church and pastors, marital status, number and age of children, when you became a Christian, personal testimony, and other relevant events or information. Be concise and clear. Don’t ramble.
  2. Social media sites. Along with basic contact information, list church or ministry websites and social media pages you manage or are affiliated with. It’s also a good idea to clean up your online presence before you interview for any position. Delete questionable photos or posts that may paint you in a bad light.
  3. Ministry objective. State your ministry objective, focus or calling. If appropriate, also summarize your ministry philosophy and goals.
  4. Ministry experience. List your ministry and work experience in reverse-chronological order using verbs like preached, organized, led, and taught. Include church, ministry and non-profit positions, internships, volunteer work, missions, and any other positions held.
  5. Education and training. List your formal education and ministerial credentials, including continuing education. This section should include seminary degrees, relevant courses, licensing and ordination information, affiliations, and current standing with your fellowship or denomination. Also, add times you were mentored by ministry leaders in an informal setting. Many churches prefer a candidate who has hands-on training and experience.
  6. Spiritual gifts and talents. God-given talents are often the deciding factor when a congregation is looking for a new pastor or ministry leader. Relevant talents might include things like the ability to teach, play guitar or lead youth groups. Spiritual gifts may include discernment, faith or intercession.
  7. References and mentors. List three or four references, including your relationship to them, in order of importance in your personal development and ministry history. Churches often hire pastors and ministry staff based on their connection to someone in a particular denomination or fellowship. List ministers, pastors and laypeople known by the church search committee if possible.

An effective ministry resume doesn’t just tell a church what you have done, but what you can do to help strengthen their body of believers. It helps show the search committee that you are called by God to fill the position.

Starting in 2001 as a webmaster and contributor for Ministrymaker Magazine, Kim Linton's articles and technology guides have been published on a variety of websites including Woman's Day and Intel, and featured on several news sites including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.