I’m constantly looking at resumes and candidates for ministry positions. After looking at what must be thousands of resumes, I’ve learned a thing or two. Want to know what one thing stands out almost more than ANYTHING else on a resume?


Most of the resumes I look at are often filled with 12-18 month stints at this thing or another thing. Yes, sometimes we have “that” experience. The time where that curveball came out of nowhere and everything changed. It happens – but not as often as we like to think it does. Resumes with more than one job for less than two years makes you less likely to be hired for the job you really want. When I see resumes with employments that lasted less than 18 months, I usually have a few thoughts that come to mind. They may not be true, but I think them nonetheless.

  • Did this candidate did something wrong. What is this resume not telling me that I need to know about this candidate?
  • Did this candidate give up too early? Yes, ministry can be hard. We’ve all had that manager that is hard to work for. Is this the type of person who should have stayed and fought for something better?
  • Does this candidate have poor judgement? Did they jump into a church that was not the right fit? Candidates being interviewed by a church should be interviewing the church as well.

When I hire someone, my hope is that they’re going to be around for 4-5 years – at least. A resume with short employments tells me that you’re not going to give me what I’m looking for.

So, if you find yourself in a tough ministry situation, I’d like to encourage you. Before you turn in your resignation and start hunting for your next job, consider these questions:

  • Is it really time for you to leave, or does leaving just feel easier?
  • If you were to turn in your resignation, would it be a surprise? If the answer is yes, you’ve not been honest enough with you manager. It’s likely that he/she doesn’t know how frustrated you are. Perhaps they can make changes that will make your job easier.
  • Is the ministry you oversee better than it was before you arrived? If not, you’re not done yet.
  • Do you think that there’s something for you to learn by going through a challenging situation? If the answer is yes, consider bracing yourself for an education. In the end, you’ll have experience that will make you a stronger leader.

Obviously, these questions don’t account for abusive, moral or other outlier situation. Sometimes you just have to leave. However, I’m not convinced that these account for the majority of the reasons people leave their staff positions at church. Hang in there and push into the pain/discomfort. Perhaps you still have more to offer and perhaps God wants to develop you through a challenging situation. The grass is rarely greener on the other side, so consider these things before you make your move.