5 Tips For Pastor Search Committees Evaluating Ministry Resumes

5 Tips For Search Committees Evaluating Ministry Resumes

When there's a vacancy on your church staff, the search process can feel daunting and overwhelming.

It's hard enough to get everyone on the same page and craft an effective job description. Then, you as the pastor search committee are tasked with discerning how to evaluate candidates for the role.Our team here at Vanderbloemen is passionate about helping churches understand that a candidate is much more than a resume. You can't fully capture a person on one sheet of paper. A resume should be one tool of many that helps you evaluate whether or not a candidate is the right fit for the role.

Finding a new staff member for your team is not only a big job, but one to be handled with discernment and care. Here are five tips for helping your pastor search committee begin to think through the process of evaluating the resumes of candidates you're considering.

1. Get organized.

The first step to considering candidates and finding the right person for your church or organization is to get organized. Get everyone that is involved on the same page and pick a date, time, and location to begin the evaluation process. This may be one day for several hours or multiple days for several weeks, depending on the timeline and amount of candidates.

Gather all of your tools and gear up. Whether those tools are highlighters and pens for evaluating paper resumes or laptops for online resumes, organization is key.

2. Set parameters.

Hopefully by now everyone on the search committee knows the specifications for the particular position that is being filled. Make sure that everyone is on the same page about what the musts are and where the leniencies can take place regarding candidates.

Must this person need to have a post-graduate degree or can they have a bachelor's degree and certain amount of experience?

Maybe you want a candidate that comes from a certain size ministry or a specific background. Maybe you're looking for a proven ability to grow teams. Whatever the specifications are set by your search committee, make sure everyone knows them clearly before you dive in.

Search: The Pastor Search Committee Handbook

3. Check your biases at the door.

Each one of us has lived extremely different lives and has individual experiences. Because of that, we may enter into situations unintentionally carrying around various biases.

For instance, if you have an eye for design, you might be biased toward aesthetically pleasing resumes with appealing fonts and strategic word placement. If you highly value education, you might lean more towards resumes with heavy education credentials.

It's extremely important that the pastor search committee identify potential bias and do their best not to overlook a resume due to bias throughout the evaluation process. Focus on the content of a resume and not the look (unless the position being filled is, in fact, a graphic designer!).

We cannot take our biases into a candidate search with us.Tweet: We cannot take our biases into a candidate search with us. https://bit.ly/1HFejNZ via @VanderbloemenSG #churchstaffing #pastorsearch

Before you begin evaluating, take a step back, put on your neutral thinking cap, and focus on the relevant skills and traits of each and every candidate.

4. Take breaks.

Evaluating resumes for long periods of time can be daunting. Eventually, your eyes may begin to cross. Make sure to take intentional breaks to give your brain and eyes a rest so that you can focus on each resume with as much gusto as you viewed the first one.

Remember that these candidates are real people that have taken a leap to apply for this position. They each deserve the same amount of respect and time throughout the evaluation process.

5. Pray. 

Although this step is listed last, it is by far the most important.

At the end of the day, we all know that God is in control of who will be brought to the church staff position you are filling. He is in control as your search committee works through the process. Take time to pray over the search, the search committee, the candidates, and your church or organization as you work through the process of finding the right person that God has called to your team.

What tips have you found most helpful in your search committee's evaluation process?

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