Finding a Church Job: Honest Interviewing

Josh —  May 3, 2012 — 9 Comments

This is part 8 of a blog series called Finding a Church Job.

You found an opening and a position that looks great on paper, you sent your resume, and they want you to come in for an interview.

Fight the excitement.

Excitement creates a situation of dishonesty. Being dishonest as you try to be the person you think this church is looking to hire. Or by trying to convince yourself that the church is a perfect fit by ignoring reality.

Be honest with the church:

  • Don’t dwell on the job description, dwell on your gifts, passions and experiences.
  • If you don’t plan on wearing a suit and tie on Sunday morning, don’t wear one to your interview.
  • Avoid black and white statements about your past ministry experiences. Nothing is completely good or completely bad.
  • Be clear in terms of ministry philosophy. If you are a Simple Church fan don’t pretend that you are heavy programmed type of pastor.
  • Prior to the interview understand your non-negotiable theological issues and what hills you aren’t going to die on. In the interview itself it is easiest to be intentionally vague on this matter.
  • Understand any personality tests you have taken and what that means for how you prefer to be led.
  • Express the personal boundaries that are important to you.

Be honest with yourself:

  • Get the details of the past, particularly in terms of conflict.
  • Talk to previous staff members. It isn’t gossip, you need to know the culture and the story.
  • Speak with people in the community. I talk about this in 30 in 30 as an after the fact action, but it might be best to do before you get the job.
  • Let others into the process. Spouse, family, friends anyone who knows you well needs to speak into the process.
  • Touch base with your references, you can learn a lot by the questions they were asked.
  • Do a budget before the interview and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Fight the excitement. Be yourself. Let the church be herself.

Because eventually all this will become painfully clear, save yourself some grief.


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Josh is a Rookie Pastor who after nearly a decade in student ministry is planting a church in Northern Kentucky. Like everyone else he doesn't know what he's doing Rookie Pastor is just the venue to share the mistakes and what he is learning along the way.

9 responses to Finding a Church Job: Honest Interviewing

  1. “Be clear in terms of ministry philosophy. If you are a Simple Church fan don’t pretend that you are heavy programmed type of pastor.”

    This is great advice… more and more I am finding that there are far too many pastors who haven’t really defined their philosophy of ministry, and bounce from church to church… frustrated.

  2. As long as I get a cut of the profit.

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  1. Finding a Church Job | Rookie Pastor - May 3, 2012

    [...] Honest Interviewing [...]

  2. 30 in 30: Protect Your Sabbath | Rookie Pastor - September 25, 2012

    [...] tell others who are interviewing with a church that an expectation to work Sunday-Friday is a huge red [...]

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