General CBF

ChurchWorks: Congregational Resources — Reference and Referral

Invert Your Ministry Search to Get Hired!

By Craig Janney

Dealing with hormonal teenagers and exasperated parents is standard operating procedure for youth ministers everywhere. I remember those days in the trenches of student ministry reminding teens and their ‘rents of their same goal: productive, God-loving, meaningful lives. The tension was always between how the child wanted to reach the goal and how the parent wanted the child to reach the goal of transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.

What if I told you that search committees and ministerial candidates have the same goal?: getting a productive, God-loving, meaningful minister/ministry. Unfortunately, search committees and candidates get discouraged because many times they differ on the way to reach the goal.

In his seminal work, What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, Richard N. Bolles offers a visual rendering of this twist (see Figure 1). He argues that during good economic times employers often mirror the job-hunters’ preference, but during “hard times” employers revert back to their default preferences. The impact for church ministry and ministers is profound: Invert your ministry search in order to get hired!


Figure 1. Bolles, Richard N. What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career Changers.


Churches: The easiest way for ministers to apply for your position is to tailor their resume to the advertisement you’ve placed in Baptist periodicals and on your website. Of course, you may get inundated with resumes you will immediately set aside for recycling.

Clergy: The easiest way for churches to get your resume is to have connections within the church or colleagues in ministry recommend you to the search committee. Of course, this narrows your search through those on your list of references.

Our churches and clergy want the same thing – and CBF does, too – and that’s where the work of our Reference and Referral ministry comes in. We help churches and candidates at the beginning, middle, and end of the search process for all levels and classifications of ministry.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has hundreds of confidential profiles and resumes of clergy candidates, and hundreds of profiles and positions of churches searching for ministers in LeaderConnect. We can help you maximize the effectiveness of your next search by:


Churches have used our service as a supplement to their traditional search while other committees have used LeaderConnect exclusively as their ministry search. Similarly, clergy are encouraged to keep searching while also letting CBF’s Reference and Referral ministry search for you; it’s not an either-or proposition but a both-and plan!

Let’s work together to invert your ministry search, close the gaps in the search process, and reach your goal of calling a new minister for the vibrant work of spreading the Gospel, cultivating beloved community, and seeking transformational development!

You can go it alone or we can be a Fellowship.

Craig Janney serves as CBF’s Congregational Reference and Referral Specialist. To take advantage of our Reference and Referral ministry create a profile at The process usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Our virtual relationship matching database helps match churches looking for a new minister along 14 criteria including theology, ministry philosophy, geography, and budget. For more information email Craig at


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