Before you answer that question, let’s look at three pros and three cons.
PROS of Ministry Resumes
- Resumes Often Expose Weaknesses. If someone makes gradeschool mistakes in grammar or spelling, you can assume they are either uneducated or undisciplined. Either way, their resume will end up in the same metal can.
- Resumes Save Time by Narrowing the Candidate List. Resumes are often good executive summaries which help you to weed out those who are obviously not qualified for that ministry position.
- Resumes Often Avoid Embarrassment. Several years ago a worship pastor search committee I served with came across a candidate who was a strong advocate of puppet ministry. That one tidbit showed us a vision incompatibility that helped both parties avoid an awkward conversation.
CONS of Ministry Resumes
- Resumes Focus on What We Have Done, Not Who We Are. Search committees and staff will find out more about who a candidate is on social media than on a resume because it reflects who and what is most important to us. Social media also exposes some of our character. The Apostle Paul’s bio gives us a peek into his work as well as his heart, “Circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:5-8).
- Resumes Accentuate Strengths and Ignore Weaknesses. This may be unavoidable because nobody expects a stranger to bleed out on a resume. The tough questions about a candidate’s criminal or financial history must be answered before anyone turns them loose on your sheep. Background checks are a non-negotiable part of ministry in the 21st century.
- Resumes Focus Disproportionately More On the Ministry Than the Family. Search teams often make wrongful, even dangerous, assumptions about pastors. Why would someone apply for a ministry position when their marriage is on life-support? It happens all of the time, especially when the candidate’s spouse is left out of the whole interview process.
Additionally, just because a ministry candidate is good at managing money, doesn’t mean they are “managing their households competently” (1 Tim. 3:4). I have found out the hard way more than once that if a candidate is a poor money manager at home, there is no reason to expect anything different at church.
Are resumes a waste of time? No, they still have a limited place in the process of calling a ministry staff member. I would suggest that you have your resume vetted by people who will make sure it is an accurate reflection of who you are as well as what you have done.