Being offered an interview is an exciting step in the job search process. It is also one of the most frightening steps.
An interview is a chance for a church to get to know you. It is a chance for them to ask you questions and determine whether you would be a good fit for their church based on your answers. For most ministry positions, there will be more than one interview. It is possible that the church will interview a large pool of potential ministers for the open position.
We all want to have a good interview. It is in our human nature. But when it comes to ministry, there is more at stake than just a good first impression. When interviewing for a ministry position, authenticity and honesty are imperative. It is about more than impressing a search committee. It is about prayerfully helping one another to determine where God is leading the church, and where God is leading you.
So how can you prepare for a church interview? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
There is no substitute for prayer. It is easy to place a lot of importance on a church interview and whether or not the church likes you or offers you the job. But at the end of the day, it is God whom we seek to serve, and we must trust God to guide us AND the search committee, in the way that we each should go.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
God does not promise to give us the job just because we want it. What he does promise, however, is that if we seek Him and desire to do His will, we will end up where we are supposed to be.
- Prepare To Share Your Testimony
Chances are a search committee is going to want to know your experience with God and the Holy Spirit, and will ask you about it. A prospective minister should always be ready to talk to anyone about the role of God in their lives.
“…Be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15
Think ahead about what you want to say and how you will communicate it. Sharing your testimony is a vulnerable thing, and not to be taken lightly. A testimony should not be scripted because that isn’t authentic, but it helps to prepare your heart and think things through ahead of time. Your testimony is a church’s chance to get to know your heart and to see how you communicate the hope of Christ to others.
- Know What That Church Believes And Be Honest About Where You Stand
If you have already made it far enough through the job search process to be offered an interview, chances are you already know this, but it never hurts to do your research. Before you interview with any church, be sure you know what they believe and where you stand on their theology and issues that are important to them. Most importantly, be honest in your beliefs and stances on matters of faith. Do not profess something you do not believe just to please the search committee. That is deception and is of the enemy. Use discernment to decide whether this is a church that would be a good fit for you based on the information you gather. It is better to walk away from a situation where you feel a church does not uphold Truth than to commit yourself to a body that does value the same things you believe are of utmost importance.
- Come With Ideas
I will never forget the time I missed out on a church job opportunity because the other candidate had the idea to offer cooking classes as part of the children’s ministry.
The point is not cooking classes, but what that other candidate brought to the table in her interview – ideas. She had not only thought about getting the job, but beyond that to what she would do if offered the job.
Check out the church website to see what programs and activities are already offered. Get to know the community around the church and think about what might be a valuable ministry to the people in the area.
I offer this bit of advice with a word of caution. No church I have ever attended likes for a new minister to come in and throw out everything the church is already doing in favor of their own, new ideas without first finding out what is important to the church and its people. However, being prepared to offer ideas if asked can help make you an attractive candidate.
- Ask Good Questions
In any job interview, it is impressive to not only provide answers to questions posed to you, but to bring your own questions. Questions show you care. They reveal what matters to you and where you invest your curiosity and your energy.
Before your interview, compile a list of things you would like to ask the search committee. In most situations, they will be glad you asked!
Ministry job interviews differ from other interviews in that the point is not to impress the search committee, but to offer them the truest snapshot of yourself as possible in humility and a desire for God’s will. It is important to remember this as you continue on your job search journey.
May God bless you as you move forward!