Pastor Resume Examples to Help You Build Yours

Even pastors can use a strong resume to show they’re the right choice to guide their church. How can you write an effective pastor resume?

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Pastor Resume Example

Resumes are often seen as business documents, so it might seem strange to submit one in a religious context. However, resumes can be a helpful way for a hiring committee to determine whether an individual has the experience and education necessary to pastor their church. If you’re looking to write a pastor resume, use these examples and tips.

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What to Highlight in a Pastor Resume

As already noted, a pastor resume is different from many professional resumes. There are many different types of pastor resumes: senior pastors, associate pastors, lead pastors, and even youth pastors. The elements you highlight will depend on what type of resume you’re submitting, the skills the church is looking for, and what you’ve found to be most fulfilling through your path of faith. Additionally, remember that pastors often aren’t chosen by hiring managers or recruiters but instead by church members or deacons putting together a church council and search committee.


The Structure of a Pastor Resume

Every pastor resume will be a little bit different, and the resume format you use will play a part in that. Because pastor resume samples often lay outside the traditional format of resumes, the chronological resume may be your best option simply because it’s the most popular. The headings you’ll include in your resume will typically be these:
 
Header
 
The resume header is part of your resume design. It includes your full name, contact information, including your phone number, and potentially any public-facing job networking links you have, such as LinkedIn.
 
Resume summary
 
Your resume summary should include a quick overview of your best skills, education, and experience, in two to three sentences. 
 
Skills
 
The specific skills you cite in your skills section will depend on what type of position you’re applying for, as different pastoral positions will have different requirements. Here are a few common skills to consider:

  • Understanding of Christian theology, especially in specific theological denominations
  • Shepherding a congregation
  • Bible studies
  • Discipleship and mentorship
  • General pastoral care
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Public speaking skills
  • Running a small group
  • Performing baptisms within your denomination
  • Doing community outreach
  • Welcoming new members to church
  • Strategic planning and discussion with staff members

The right skills section should take into consideration what you’ll be expected to do and the mission statement of the church you’re applying to.

 
Work history
 
Next is your experience section. Here, you’ll include any years of experience you’ve had in the past, both full-time and part-time. You can also include experience that’s related to but not directly in the field of pastoring.
 
Education
 
Lastly, you should include an education section. Feature your top credential, such as a Master of Divinity or Doctor of Ministry. Include all related studies and honors that relate to this path.


Do’s and Don’ts for a Pastor Resume

Do:

  • Treat the resume professionally. While a pastor resume might not be as business-oriented as other resumes, you should still aim for a formal, straightforward presentation and tone.
  • Specify the type of work you’ve done as a pastor in the past. If you’ve handled worship services or Sunday school, then mention those responsibilities.
  • Know your most important outreach needs and discuss them in your resume. This way, the hiring committee will know where you’re hoping to impact the local community.

Don’t:

  • Talk about specific individuals that have been part of your congregation in the past. This can violate clergy confidentiality.
  • Include high school education on your resume. If you have college experience, then it will generally be assumed that you have a high school education or GED.
  • Include work experience that doesn’t relate to pastor work. For example, if you cite customer service experience, you should emphasize interpersonal relations and other important intangible skills, rather than your ability to handle point-of-sales systems.

FAQ: Pastor Resumes

Q: Do I need to include a cover letter for a pastor application?

This is typically a good idea. A cover letter can help you talk directly to the search committee, giving some more insight on what initially brought you to this vocation, why you’re applying at this specific church, and what benefits you can bring to the pastor’s office. The ResumeHelp cover letter builder can help you with this, even though the cover letter will necessarily be less business-oriented.

Q: How can I write a pastor resume without a lot of experience?

Especially if you’re planning to write a resume for a secondary position, such as in youth ministry, your pastor resume template may not have to include a significant amount of experience. In these situations, rely on your skills and whatever experience you do have in helping the community and mentoring others. Community service, for example, may teach many of these skills.

Q: How do I change my pastor resume to apply to different jobs?

If you’re looking for a pastoral job, then you may have to apply to a number of different congregations before you find the right one for you. While typical resume writing will have you consider resume keywords, which the hiring manager includes in the description to give insight into what they’re looking for, a pastor job may go a little deeper. Look into the church’s mission statement and consider attending a service or two to get a feel for what they’re looking for in a pastor, and then address those needs in your resume.

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