This past week I was able to have a couple of interviews with a few church in North Carolina. I have been looking for my first full-time student pastor position since finishing my undergrad degree in November. I’ll be honest, not much has been happening since November. I have sent my resume to over a hundred churches, but was not getting any feedback or calls from those churches. All that changed this past week. Out of nowhere three churches called me and wanted to meet with me! I enjoyed each interview and believe God taught me a lot about myself and my future ministry. Here are a few things I learned that I believe will help you if you’re looking for a full-time pastoral position in a local church:
1. Know your theology. One of the first questions two of the churches asked me was where I stood on certain theological issues. Good churches will want to know where you stand with your theology. They are looking to hire someone who lines up with their theology so it is vitally important you know where you stand. If your theology doesn’t match theirs, don’t waste your time or their time. Hopefully, you have studied theology in college and have a good understanding of where your stand, but make sure your ready to answer questions that are theological in nature. If the church is not concerned about your theology than it’s probably not a church worth talking to. Your theology will direct your ministry, so it is important that a church knows your theology. Before I go on let me explain something. Their are “closed handed” and “open-handed” issues. Usually, “open-handed” issues are things we can agree to disagree on and fellowship and worship together in humility. But when it comes to working on staff at a church, most churches will ask you to be on the same page with even the “open-handed” issuess. So when you step into an interview, make sure you know where you stand on the “closed-handed” issues as well as the “open-handed” issues.
2. Know the role your wife will play in the ministry. Every church I interviewed with asked me how my fiancee, soon to be wife, will fit into the ministry. They want to know how your wife will serve in the ministry. Some churches will expect your wife to play a vital role while other will not expect her to do too much. Determine before an interview that you are being hired for the position, not your wife. If she wants to play a big role in the ministry, great, but if she doesn’t, that is perfectly ok. In order to answer this question, spend some time talking to your wife about how she sees herself fitting in to your ministry. Allow her to serve where her strengths and passions lie. Then explain to the church how she will serve with you and what particular roles she will play. If your not married, realize most church will look to at candidates that are married first. Don’t get married just for ministry, but realize it’s an important asset to churches. One quick tip. Allow your wife to speak in the interview if she is present. Let her share her heart and passions for ministry. Churches not only want to hear you, but want to hear your other half.
3. Make sure your like the overall ministry of the church, not just the particular area your looking to serve in. I am looking for a student pastor position so I looked very closely at their students and how the church views student ministry. It is important to make sure you like where the church is going with the ministry area or applying for, but make sure you like the church overall. Don’t take the job if you are falling asleep during the Sunday morning worship servive. Don’t take the job if you don’t feel like you will get spiritually feed by the preaching. Don’t take the job if you feel like your wife and children don’t like the the ministries that are geared towards them. I look at it this way, find a job at a church you would attend if you didn’t get a job there. Would you enjoy the Sunday services if you wasn’t the student pastor? Would you send your children to the children’s ministry if you didn’t work for the church? Find a church that ministers to your personally.
These are just a few of the things I learned this past week. I hope they help you as you are looking for that position or will help you encourage someone who is currently looking. At the end of the day, God is sovereign and will lead you to the right place and position. Pray and ask God for guidance and discernment as you look for that perfect position.