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Staff Search

How to Craft a Winning Story

Those who know how to communicate who they are and where they’re going with enthusiasm, confidence, and passion are more compelling, more fun, and more likely to land the role they desire.

Story

You’ve got the education, the experience, the skillset, and the passion. So, what else do you need if you want to find a great ministry role? Well… none of those things matter much if you don’t know how to communicate them to your interviewer. You must be able to frame your past experiences in a way that creates future ministry opportunities.

 

It’s our job to find great people for great churches; however, we can make that happen. At Chemistry, we believe every church candidate is unique, special, and valuable. As Church Geeks, we love the local church AND we don’t believe in happenstance. Every interview is a moment in time that God has asked us to maximize for His glory and for the Church’s good (especially you). That means that we approach every interview with optimism and excitement. Even if someone doesn’t get a particular ministry role, our hope is that we can play a part in helping every candidate on their journey to finding a healthy, long-term fit at a local church. That’s our heart for you, and that’s my heart when I say out loud what we all know to be true:

 

One of the last things you want to be when you step into an interview is uninteresting.

 

Let that sit for just a second before you finish reading this blog post.

 

First impressions really do count, particularly in an interview. They say not to judge a book by its cover, and that may be true… but it’s on you to make sure the interviewer has a chance to read the book. You’ve got to open the cover!

 

Even more importantly, you must be able to tell the story you want told to your interviewer. That doesn’t mean you should fabricate a story or be misleading. That’s a quick way to end up on your favorite news channel! Your story should be honest, but it should also be everything it can be.

 

After all, your interviewer knows this: The “you” we meet during the interview process is likely the best version of you we’ll see in a ministry role. It’s like a first date. You put a little more effort into your presentation in those moments.

 

The point is simple… the storytellers get the job. Those who know how to communicate who they are and where they’re going with enthusiasm and passion are more compelling, more fun, and more likely to land the role they desire. And, somehow and in some way, God’s Providence is in that. He’s opening the door, but you’ve got to walk through.

 

The simple truth is that churches do not interview candidates like the coaches on “The Voice” choose their team (blindly but fairly). So, the goal in your interview is not to undersell yourself under the pretense of humility, nor is it to oversell yourself to land the job. Underselling is not a synonym for humility, though it may be a synonym for a lack of preparation. The goal in your interview is to convey the full sense of who you are and what you bring to the table, and why that should compel a church to hire you. After all, you were interested enough and confident enough in the role to apply! Let that confidence carry into your interview as well (and you’re never more confident than when you know which story you’re telling).

 

Perhaps there’s a part of you that feels this is unfair. “Let the resumé speak for itself,” right? But that misses the point. Even the Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote to the Church in Corinth: 

 

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NLT)

The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

 

Paul knew that the best “letter of recommendation” a person can receive is the lives that were changed through his ministry. He knew that the best “resumé” he could offer was living proof of God’s work through them. When you and I remember this, it clarifies everything.

 

Your resumé is a necessary part of the process… but what helps you get the job isn’t just what’s written on paper, but what’s written in your heart. Believe me, that either will or will not come through in the interview, and that may just be the thing that makes all the difference. The church that wants to hire you can train you on a skill you lack… but they can’t fix a lack of passion. Remembering WHY we are in ministry AND tying that to your resumé and interview process is a powerful part of letting God lead you into a new place of ministry.

 

God wants to use you in incredible and even mighty ways. That may be an old-school preacher way to say it, but it’s true. How do I know? Because God tells us ...

 

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

The word “masterpiece” (poieima) is where we get the English word for “poem.” Your life is poetry in God’s hands. As you partner with God to tell a compelling and poetic story, your ministry brings beauty to the Good News of Jesus (and you might just find a great church along the way). 

 

Be encouraged! If you need help in any of these areas, we’re here for you. You can schedule a consultation today, or you can download this free resource that will help you craft a winning story for your next interview.

Shay Wood

Shay Wood

Shay has been serving in the local church for over a decade as a student pastor, campus pastor, teaching pastor, multisite director, and church planter. A West Texas boy who grew up in Midland/Odessa, Shay is now living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Robyn and their three sons. They are currently planting Mercyhill Church, with a vision to echo God’s mercy across the world. Shay has a B.S. in Youth Ministry, an M.A. in Evangelism & Church Planting, and an M.Div in biblical studies from Liberty University. He is currently working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies through the Cook School of Leadership at Dallas Baptist University. Shay’s ministry experience in building teams and restructuring church staff for long-term health and vision alignment informs his work with Chemistry in helping candidates navigate their next steps and find a church where they can both fit in and stand out.

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