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Leaving The Corporate World? How To Find The Best Ministry Role For You

Posted by Jeff Gilmer on 3/29/17 7:44 AM

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Making a transition from a career in the corporate world to ministry can be difficult, but it isn’t completely out of the ordinary. People feel called to ministry at different stages in their lives and careers. Once you feel that call, if you aren’t already volunteering your time to a local church or ministry, you need to start. It’s helpful to include your volunteer or bi-vocational ministry experience on your resume alongside your secular experience. 

Some corporate experience is easily recognized as transferable to ministry, and some skills are less obvious. In this article, I hope to highlight some corporate jobs and which ministry positions would correlate with them.

1. Do you work in finance, executive level management, or operations?

Then you might be suited for a role as an Executive Pastor.

Executive Pastors often have to wear several hats including managing the church’s finances, facilities, and staff. This tends to be a role that is more frequently open to candidates coming from a corporate background and generally doesn’t require a seminary degree.

2. Do you work in retail, customer service, or other customer-facing roles?

Then you might be suited for a role as a First Impressions, Small Group, or Connections Director.

First Impressions and related ministries are all about creating a welcoming experience for church members and guests from the time they pull into the parking lot until they leave and getting them plugged into the church. Understanding ways to make the guest experience as intuitive and friendly as possible is crucial to creating an inviting atmosphere.

3. Are you in hotel, restaurant, or hospitality management?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteer Coordinators have to be great at managing people and schedules for lots of individuals. They should have a strong background in logistics, be a "people person," and know how to implement systems and manage complex schedules.

4. Do you work in counseling or therapy?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Care or Discipleship Pastor

A good amount of Care Pastors come from a background of counseling, whether in practice or by education. Care Pastors work with individuals and families in need. It might be families dealing with a loss, illness, or a struggling marriage. These people have a heart for the "shepherding" aspects of ministry. 

5. Are you a Principal, Dean, or Superintendent?

Then you might be suited for a role as Children’s or Student Ministries Director.

This is not to be confused with a Children’s Pastor who is likely the teacher or primary communicator. The Director position is usually more of an oversight role. This person is usually in charge of the staff of volunteer and/or paid teachers in the ministry. This person also has to interface well with parents and be a strong leader for their team.

6. Do you work at a local non-profit homeless ministry, food bank, or service organization?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Local Missions Coordinator.

The Missions Coordinator at a church acts as a liaison with local non-profits to help connect church members to organizations for volunteer opportunities. If the church is large enough, then this role would manage the church’s food bank, homeless mission, or any other in-house locally focused outreach ministries. 

7. Are you in a technical media role like a TV producer, Broadcast Engineer, or Cinematographer?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Technical or Production Director.

A Production Director is in charge of coordinating and leading all of the audio, lighting, and video production during church services. They should have experience troubleshooting technical issues in a time crunch, understand ever changing technology, and are able to work with complex systems. Many churches also hire Video Producers, Filmmakers, and Graphic Designers. If you have multi-faceted skills in these areas, you could be in high demand for churches.

8. Are you a public relations or marketing manager?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Director of Marketing or Communications.

The Communications Director is in charge of managing the brand of the church. This often includes managing social media, ensuring consistency in all messaging both internal and external, and being a key project manager. This role often requires a breadth of knowledge in many different areas, from graphic design to website development.

9. Are you an Athletic Director, Camp Director, or Event Planner?

Then you might be suited for a role as a Minister of Recreation.

This role is in charge of all things recreation! Some churches have their own rec center with sports courts and leagues. This could also involve field days and other church sports or outdoors activities. This person should have experience managing an events type budget and be able to coordinate with multiple groups at the same time. This person is generally somewhat detail-oriented but also outgoing and great at getting people excited about an event or activity.

10. Are you in sales or business development?

You might be suited for a role in Fundraising for a ministry or Capital Campaigns.

A church or ministry fundraiser is in charge of organizing events and managing campaigns to bring in offerings or donations, usually for specific missions or projects. This person usually has that “sales person” attitude and is great at garnering attention and buzz around a project. They are usually great communicators and good at pitching creative ideas.

Just about every role in the corporate world involves skills that can overlap with ministry positions. I would again stress the importance of first being involved in your local church as a volunteer if your goal is to transition to a vocational ministry position.

Did you transition from the corporate world to a church position? How did your skills transfer over?

If you liked this, you'll also enjoy 3 Advantages Of Moving From The Corporate World To A Church Staff.

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