7 Suggestions When Interviewing for a Church Staff Position

This week I had two people email through my blog asking for suggestions when interviewing with a church for a staff position. I am thinking it could be an issue worth addressing.

Having sit on both sides of the table, here are 7 suggestions:

Know your audience – Do as much research as you can about the church. Ask who will be in the interview and what role they have in the church.

Be honest – This is critical because you don’t want to win a job at a place where you can’t live with or support the vision.

Be upbeat - The main thing in adding staff in most churches is that the person be a good fit for the church and team. Show you’re easy to get along with and likable.

Be humble – If you’ve had past success, don’t take all the credit. Share the victories with others, knowing that most likely you couldn’t have succeeded without them, plus it’s a much more appealing approach.

Don’t appear controlling but appear competent - There is a balance between being able to lead with confidence and being a cocky leader. Be gracious with your answers but remain firm in your convictions.

Be forward thinking but celebratory of the history – Let them know you want to work with them and strengthen the church, building on the best of its history, but you want to take them wherever God leads in the future. Many church’s, even after a difficult period, continue to remain proud of their heritage.

Pray before and after and ask others to pray too – In the end this will either be a God-thing or not. You don’t want to take the position if it’s not. I believe God often gives tremendous latitude and freedom in choosing our place of service, and we should represent Him with our best appearance, but in the end, we want to be in the center of His will.

What tips would you offer to those interviewing at another church or ministry?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “7 Suggestions When Interviewing for a Church Staff Position

  1. Tremendous things here. I am very happy to see your article.

    Thanks a lot and I am having a look ahead to touch you.

    Will you please drop me a mail?

  2. In India, the churches generally look for committedness from the candidates over all other qualities. Competencies and professionalism get a backseat indeed. Church hiring is not so organized as it is in US.

    • Interesting. Thank you for sharing that. Certainly committedness…to a vision…to the cause of Christ…to be a servant…very important for a church staff member…or believer.

  3. Thoughts, go to these churches as a punter and see if you 'fit in'. IMHO starting as a volunteer or paid worker could mean that it is merely a job or ahem 'ministry'. This is a dig at religious speak not you.

  4. Ron, great post and suggestions. I'm in a situation where I'm trying to get the church to consider hiring me. I've been doing full-time ministry for them the past year (unpaid), but am trying to move it toward a staff position, which is the reigning model at my large church. I'd also be interested in hearing how to present myself, not at a formal interview, but at the informational level and at the "here's how I can be a part of your church's ministry" level. Thanks!

    • That's a great idea for a post also. Let me consider my answer. Short answer is it's relationally-driven in most cases, but those cases can be abused also, where the best qualified is overlooked for someone with a closer relationship. Let me think about this

  5. Ron, How about some thoughts on the other side of things. Hiring the right person seems to be a harder task than ever. Would love to hear your thoughts about the hiring process.