3 Questions To Building An Effective Ministry Resume


We often hear from candidates that one of the most difficult parts of the job search is writing a ministry resume. It can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve been in the same job for several years.

I’m the Pastor of Discipleship. How do I quantify the depth of my discipleship initiatives on my resume?

My wife and I have been pastors at this church for 25 years and feel God is calling us to a new church. How do I begin to compile a resume based on 25 years of ministry at one place?

I’m in the corporate world but feel God is calling me to ministry. How do I translate my corporate experience into an effective ministry resume?

Do any of these questions resonate with you? If so, take a deep breath. You’re not alone. We receive questions like this from candidates on a daily basis.

Ministry is complex, and the resume writing process is overwhelming for many people.

We don’t do resume writing for candidates here at Vanderbloemen, but we do provide tips here on our Insights blog sometimes. Writing resumes for candidates would go against our ethics as a retained executive search firm endorsed by the Association of Executive Search Consultants. We also don’t do it because it’s simply not necessary.

Why? Because there’s no perfect formula that captures your unique experiences, passions, and gifts. No one knows your own story better than you.

When writing your resume, focus on one objective: telling your ministry story effectively. That’s it.

But isn’t a perfectly formated ministry resume what gets people an interview?

No. Even the format of your resume is simply a tool to help you tell your story effectively. Now, a resume that is thoughtfully laid out in a clean format is helpful because I’m likely to have a greater understanding of your story if I can easily read your resume. However, there’s not a magic formula or perfect format that will make me view your resume better than any other.

So how are you supposed to begin the daunting task of effectively telling your story through your ministry resume?

Ask yourself the following 3 questions:

1. Where have I been? The answer to this question gives your story context. If someone has never met you but has your resume on their desk, they should be able to clearly identify where and when God has called you throughout your ministry timeline thus far.

2. What did I do? Your resume is your opportunity to share your unique experience, knowledge, and expertise with prospective employers. It is your chance to add color to the framework of your timeline. Share the projects, discipleship initiatives, and challenges you helped overcome while in your position. Help your reader gain a better understanding of your story by using quantifiers when possible. Your resume is your opportunity to show how you helped change lives through your ministry.

3. Does it make sense that I’m applying for this job? Before you submit your application, take a step back and view your resume through a prospective employer’s eyes. Do your experiences qualify you for the job you’re applying for? If so, have you effectively communicated your qualifications through your resume? Have this question in the forefront of your mind as you are writing your resume. If you were the hiring manager for this position, would you consider interviewing yourself based off of your resume? If not, reevaluate if this job is a good fit for you.

If you ask and clearly answer these three questions before, during, and after your resume writing process, you will be off to a great start on building an effective ministry resume.

What tips have you found helpful when writing your ministry resume?