By Jesse Criss edited by CJ Limvalencia
Over the last 20 years, I have had a number of opportunities to not only go through the “looking for a job” process but also help lead others through it. The reality is that finding a job in a church or parachurch organization is the exact same thing as finding a job in the secular world… it’s 100% about who you know… kind of.
Let’s deal with the “100%” first then loop back to the “kind of” at the end.
Relationships drive the world around us, and word of mouth travels fast. However, these are just by-products of a culture and industry built around consumer review. If we go and buy almost anything, online or in-person, we almost automatically look for consumer reviews. But, we are not just looking for one review – we are looking for dozens and hundreds of reviews. For example: if you are debating between two TVs on Amazon that are both about the same price but different brands and features, the odds are high you will look at the “stars score” and the number of reviewers. If TV #1 has 5 stars but only 20 reviews, and TV #2 has 4 stars but 900 reviews, my money says you will pick the 4-star TV because more people are happy overall.
When it comes to work, there are not necessarily 5-star reviews on each of us, but through sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and so on, employers are looking for social reviews. They are looking for connections, who know you that they know, because they will go ask around about you. This process has a fancy industry word attached to it, and it’s called “networking”. About a year ago I wrote a guide on how to network and why it’s important and how to actually go about doing it.
To physically find a job posting, you can go to a number of places, e.g. denomination pages, college/university job boards, church recruitment groups like Slingshot, and so on. These are good places to start, but if you ask me, the better place to start is letting people you trust in your networks know you’re looking and know your heart, and trust God to spark the right conversation.
I added a “kind of” that I also want to take a minute to address, because it has cost me at least one job in my life. Your network and people-connections will get you extremely far in the process, however knowing people still doesn’t guarantee a job. There are two factors that actually determine that:
The first is that you actually need to interview/candidate well. We will talk more about this in coming weeks, but it is very possible to bomb this process (I’ve been there).
However, the second factor is maybe the most important thing of all, and it’s based on a question: is God calling you to this job? See, the reality is that sometimes the job we want is not the job God wants us to have. Again, we are going to talk about this in the coming weeks.
So, how to find a ministry job? You start with the networks and relationship connections that you have, but never forget that relationships will only take you so far.