By Craig Janney
Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
A beloved parishioner once told me, “It’s a job to get a job, and you can’t find a job until you have a job.” Many of us learn it’s not just what you know but whom you know. Apparently eighty percent – yes, 80% – of all job placements come from referrals. Having someone “carry your resume” to a search committee is still commonplace because references and networking work.
The exasperation of applying to churches time and again makes you question your calling to ministry in the first place. Never hearing anything and having to [rightly] assume the church isn’t going to bring you in view of a call is crushing. Rather than wading in the waters of self-doubt, there are a few ways you can take charge of your ministry job search.
- Complete/update your CBF LeaderConnect profile online today (like now, right click here “Open link in new tab”). There are 98 CBF churches in 16 states and 3 countries currently searching for a minister using LeaderConnect, a virtual relationship matching system.
- Call your references on your resume to let them know you’re using the Reference & Referral ministry to match you with churches. During your conversation be sure to ask your references to recommend any congregations s/he knows are looking for a minister and confirm their contact information is accurate. Send them your updated resume after your call.
- Integrate your digital footprint. Using the electronic version of your resume, edit your Facebook “About” section and complete your LinkedIn profile to match. Upload a professional headshot across all mediums and get your Twitter house in order. Warning: Don’t forget to review your privacy settings.
- Keep your eyes on churches rather than jobs. It sounds counterintuitive but searching for congregations whose ministries and missions suit your skills and passions allows you to see your calling with greater vision. Knowing who you are, what you do well and where you thrive is more valuable than spraying and praying your resume across the country.
- Let your network work for you. Not all networking is created equally. Socializing at CBF events is not the same as asking a trusted colleague to make a call on your behalf. Beyond your handful of references, you should be using your network to support you. A healthy network might include your theological school, Peer Learning Group, state and regional CBF leaders, former church members, mission partners, family friends, college professors, para-church organization influencers, fellow volunteers, as well as CBF Reference & Referral. But don’t just have a network, use your network and be used by your network.
- Sign-up for Ministers on the Move at General Assembly. Fifteen-minute time slots are available from 9:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19 for what is unofficially being called “Speed Dating with Craig and Clarissa” in the Reverchon Room (Founder’s Wing on the Atrium Level) of the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Texas. Contact Craig Janney to register.
- Bother me, please. If you leave things up to chance and don’t directly ask for help, you’re likely to be searching for a ministry position this time next year. So, I’m asking every CBF minister to fill out a LeaderConnect profile whether you’re looking or not. I’m asking you to take the initiative to introduce yourself to me via email, phone or in person at General Assembly. I’m asking you to bother me because I work for you. My job is to help you get a job.
You’ve contacted your references, cleaned up your resume, and asked for direct referrals, now it’s time to do some Isaiah 40:31 waiting. The kind of waiting that still tries to fly and run and walk even when you feel hidden from and disregarded by God (40:27). In those moments, revisit your calling and understand the camaraderie throughout the Fellowship to affirm and support you. One day you’ll have the opportunity to share your story with a minister on the move. Make them ask you straightforwardly for help and remind them of a Greek word they probably forgot: koinonia – the mutual self-giving. We are building bridges and forming together.
Craig Janney serves as the Congregational Reference and Referral Specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.