Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Finding a job in Youth Ministry: Communication

The biggest thing I learned in the search process last year, was Communication.  And I want to break down the communication into: Sending your Resume, Follow-up, and negotiations.

1.  Sending your Resume
   In the past I have just emailed or faxed a cover letter and my resume.   Lars Rood helped me change my resume.  Over the past 14 years, I have led camps and mission trips, spoke at many retreats and events, led worship, and many various other things outside of normal paid youth ministry.  Instead of having a five page resume, Lars helped me consolidate it into small sub areas of worship, program, speaking, and multi-media.   Lars also had me not only send my resume via email or fax but also send a hard copy.   Every church I met with or talked with said that was how I stood out over the hundreds of applicants.  Very few people send their resume in as a hard copy.   Lars pointed out to me that it takes ten seconds to email a resume, but it actually takes time and effort to buy resume paper, print it out, fold it, and mail it.  And that was one of the best tips he gave me.   I also enclosed in my packet to the churches a folder that broke down my different areas of youth ministry along with an audio or dvd of me speaking and leading worship.

2.  Follow-up

I always would send an email and call the head of the search committee and the staff person to make sure he/she received my resume.

Churches at this point separated themselves from me being interested or not.  Many of the search committees did not have a time frame, so they were very slow.  Several I did not interview with because it took too long and I was already into final rounds with other churches.

After having an interview I always sent a hand written thank you note to the Senior Pastor as well as the search committee.  I also sent an email and would sometimes call to personally thank them for their time.

The best interview processes at several churches was when they would weekly call me or email and let me know where they were in the process.  But the sad thing is that was only about 3 churches.  The other churches I had to call or email to find out if I had made it to the next round.

3.  Negotiations

This was a problem with several churches I was very interested in.  They put out a job search, a job description but failed to have a final number of what their package would look like.  Many churches want years of experience and education but are not willing to meet the packages of someone who is married and has a family.  Several offers were very embarrassing to try to negotiate.  Others were very willing.  My hope and prayer for all churches currently looking for someone is that they take care of the youth workers.  I really feel that if they treated the negotiation process and gave better packages and benefits, we would not see as high of a turnover in youth ministry as we currently do.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Finding a job in Youth Ministry

Little over a year ago, I started the process of searching for a new position in Youth Ministry.  My wife and I felt called to move, so we started to look.  During the beginning process we were getting calls from churches, when we had not even posted a resume or let anyone know that we were looking.  It was a very exciting yet scary time on where to look.   With the help of a good friend in ministry Lars Rood, I updated my resume and put it on YS Job Bank.   I searched the YS job bank daily as well as several other sites.  But the YS job bank was where I had the most success while looking.

We traveled as far west as Hoover, AL, south to Tampa and Orlando, and throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.  It was a long process.

As I was finishing my Masters of Arts in Christian Education with an emphasis in Youth Ministry through Pfeiffer University and Wesley Theological Seminary, I was daily searching for a change.   I was mostly trying to stay in my roots in the United Methodist Church.  I saw bad communications, bad search committees, horrible follow-up, great people, frustrations, and roadblocks.  These were things that I had never experienced before while searching for previous youth ministry positions.  It amazed me how churches would publish one thing in their online ad and then be a total different church when I looked them up online or went to visit the church.  I'm glad I did my homework on the churches or I might be looking for another position right now if I would have taken one of them.

One major thing that helped was having a network of friends in Youth Ministry.  Lars Rood was beyond a friend with his help and support during my searching.  I'm not sure where I would have landed if it weren't for his guidance and suggestions.  I was in unchartered territory while looking.  My previous searches for positions in the past were very short, but with the economy and state of some churches, the process was very long with many dead ends.   One of the biggest dead ends was with my education and experience.  Many churches want someone with a Masters Degree in Youth Ministry, certified in Youth Ministry through the United Methodist Church, and with over 10 years of experience.  But the problem was that they did not have the pay or support church budget for youth ministry.   The one thing that Lars kept telling me was not to sacrifice the well-being of my family for the hard work I had put in for my education and experience.   Then on the other end of the spectrum, there were some churches that could, but felt that I had not been in large enough churches to be a part of their staff.  So for quite some time in the month of June I felt that I was stuck in between the two types of churches on an island.

We learned many things during our six month search.  
During the next couple days, I'm going to dive into several of these topics.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coming soon...two blogs

In the upcoming weeks I will be adding another blog.   This blog will evolve into more of a youth ministry help/idea/suggestion blog while my new blog will be more devotion/weekly lesson review/church blog.

More to come in the upcoming weeks