CHURCH STAFFING

The BJU School of Religion and the BJU Seminary are glad to assist graduates and churches as they seek to fill ministry leadership positions.

From the Director . . .

It is a delightful privilege for Bob Jones University to assist churches in their quests to fill pastoral staff positions as well as to help our graduates in their quests for a church ministry. We take our responsibility seriously and desire to be used of God in this process. We are glad to offer counsel to the churches and the men, but we stay out of the details of the process unless called upon.

Rather than merely mailing out lists of men or ministry openings, we ask that our graduates fill out a personal profile and that the churches fill out a church profile using the forms on this site. The information that men and churches provide for us is password-protected and accessible online only to those who have acquired our approval and have a personalized password. Prospective candidates may apply to those churches that have the type of positions they are seeking. A church’s contact person may view the resumes and portfolios of men who are seeking the type of position that the church is trying to fill. These resumes may be printed out at any time.

Please take time to read carefully through the information about our service.  Questions about using this service or the website can be addressed by my assistant via email at churchstaffing@bju.edu or phone at (864) 242-5100, Ext. 2801.    If you have questions or would like counsel regarding your particular situation, please contact me at (864) 242-5100, Ext. 2870 or by email.

Nathan Crockett
Director of Ministry Training

Churches

Application Process

Getting started is a multi-step process. We have done our best to make the steps clear, but if at any time you have questions, please contact us by phone or email.

  1. Begin by registering/signing up for an account.  The registration form should be filled out completely and accurately.
  2. After you submit the registration, wait for an email containing instructions to:
    • Create a password.
    • Sign in and fill in additional information about your church (under the “ACCOUNT” section / “PERSONAL INFO”).
    • When this information is complete, email the Church Staffing Services office  to let us know it’s ready to be processed.
    • Note:  The “Profile” section on your account is a standard form provided by our server.  This is an optional form and any information you fill in will be visible to candidates in our system.
  3. Usually within 2-3 business days, you’ll receive an email regarding the status of your application.  If it’s been approved, you’ll be invited to create a ministry position posting so that candidates using our service will be able to view your church’s available ministry position and can “apply” for the position.

By allow­ing both parties (the church and the prospective candidate) to see each other’s forms, an initial evaluation can be made to see if there is good reason to pursue obtaining more information directly from each other.

Viewing the Resumes of Prospective Candidates

Once the church information has been completed in the “Account” section and a ministry position posting has been created and then processed by our office, you’ll be provided access to view a “Resume Book” of potential candidates.

Accessing the Resume Book:  After logging in, click the down arrow in the Resume Books section in the left navigation bar, and then click on “Resume Books”.  You’ll see the resume book which fits the ministry position you have posted–click on the title to open the book.  Within the resume book are all the candidates who are looking for that type of position on our system.

To view and/or print resumes, click on the resume icon of the individual you would like to view.  You may also click on Portfolio if the individual has filled out a portfolio.  This lists more details information about the candidate.

The list of men that you see will be continually updated as we receive new profiles and as men find places of service and are no longer available. To our best knowledge, the list of men available to you will be as current as possible.

Confidentiality

Only those men who have been approved will be able to apply to your ministry position posting. We attach to your ministry position posting the information you provided about your church (Account/Personal Info) so that the men have access to a general overview of your church. If you have a particular need to have this information withheld, please contact Church Staffing Services for assistance. We ask you to use the men’s resumes, personal portfolios, and other information with care and confidentiality. It will likely be necessary for you to print out various resumes for use by the search committee seeking to fill a position. However, this information should not be shared with the church in general or with others outside your search committee and certainly not with others outside your church. Most men retain their current ministry position while seeking another ministry position. It is important that their availability for a change in ministry be known only to the search committee and that this knowledge be held in strict confidence by each committee member. If a committee member needs to check a reference with a man’s present ministry, he should obtain permission from the prospective candidate first. Of course, if the candidate has provided a list of references, then it can be assumed that it is fine to contact those individuals without additional personal permission.

Keeping Your Position Posting Active

The ministry position posting will automatically become inactive after 180 days unless you choose for it to remain active. You will receive an email one week in advance to let you know that you must choose to either extend your posting or indicate that someone has taken the position. Specific instructions will be included in the email. Important note: If you change your email address, please update your profile so that you will continue to receive these email notifications. You may update your church profile or ministry position posting at any time by logging in and editing the appropriate field. Be sure to click “Submit” or “Save Changes” or your changes will be lost.

Initial Follow Up

We suggest that you contact candidates as soon as possible if you would like additional material from them. You may want to request a brief doctrinal statement and perhaps a sermon recording. Please communicate with them in some way, even if by means of a form letter or a brief email. Often the men get discouraged by endless waiting for churches to contact them. Some of the men may contact you if they are genuinely interested in pursuing your opportunity. We encourage them to do so. You may want to send a questionnaire to a prospective candidate who is under serious consid­eration. It can be very time-consuming for every man to complete a lengthy questionnaire as a routine matter, however, so we advise churches to send them only to a very few serious prospects.

Candidating Procedure

Each church will carry out its candidating procedure according to its own judgment, and the University does not wish to interfere in this process. However, some churches ask our advice; and to them we offer a few suggestions for consideration. The following suggestions are especially for those seeking a senior pastor.

The church should get recommendations from the individual’s past ministries or places of employment and should run a credit check on him. The church may wish to have a prospective candidate visit the church prior to official candidating to serve as a pulpit supply preacher for a Sunday. This helps to take pressure off both parties until they can get better acquainted.

Should the church pursue the man as an official candidate, the church should carry out the process according to its constitution. The candidate should visit the church for several days and get to know the church leaders, the people, and the operation. The candidate should preach several times. The church leadership and/or congregation should interview the candidate and most likely will want to ask him about the following areas: his salvation and call to the ministry; his theological position on a variety of key doctrinal issues; his stand on ecclesiastical and personal separation, translations, divorce, baptism, and lifestyle standards; church government and his leadership style; his attitude toward evangelism and missions; and his attitude about Christian education.

The church should be forthright about its financial standing. Provide financial statements for the candidate, and be certain there are no financial surprises awaiting him should he become the pastor. It is only fair that the church be very clear to him about his personal financial arrangements in advance of his accepting the pastorate. Discuss salary and what it includes (moving expenses, housing, Social Security, utilities, car expenses, insurance, vacation time, time away to preach, retirement, etc.). Some of the above items can be excluded from the pastor’s taxable income if the church follows proper procedures, which can be to the advantage of both the pastor and the church.

These are only suggestions. Your situation may require a more thorough discussion of the above-mentioned areas or of other areas not mentioned. We trust that the Lord will give you much wisdom as you seek God’s man for your ministry. There are several resources that provide detailed assistance to the candidating process.

Special Note on Musical Style

Bob Jones University is well known for its conservative, traditional, dynamic approach to church music. To our best knowledge, the graduates we are recommending to churches are generally in sympathy with our standards and practice. We believe that they would not be compatible with a church that uses rock–style contemporary Christian music in its services. We want churches to be aware of this reality prior to submitting the Church Profile requesting the names of prospective candidates for any position.

Putting Your Ministry Position Posting “On Hold”

If there is a period of time that you would like for your ministry position posting to become unavailable to men, you have the option to deactivate your posting simply by going to the “Ministry Positions” tab and selecting “Deactivate” next to the position you wish to remove. For instance, you may wish to place your profile on hold if you are trying to work through the personal profiles you have already selected or if you are seriously considering a particular candidate for the position. Remember that the posting will still become inactive 180 days after the original submission date. We will send you a notification one week in advance that your profile is about to become inactive in order to give you the opportunity to keep it active. To take the profile “off hold,” simply log in and choose the option to reactivate the ministry position.

Terminating the Procedure

There may be a variety of reasons for terminating the posting procedure. The church may have found someone to fill the position (either someone we recommended or another contact) or perhaps the church is no longer interested in filling the position. Whatever the case, please let our office know right away. To do so, please email Church Staffing Services.

The Gospel Fellowship Association Interim Pastor Ministry is a program using pastors who are at the age where they are ready to step away from the burdens of the senior pastorate but still have a great deal of ministry left in them. This ministry is intended to provide a service to churches that are between pastors and would like experienced pastoral stability during the time they are seeking God’s permanent man. The interim pastor is more than simply a pulpit supply. He functions in a pastoral capacity but should not be considered as a pastoral candidate by the church.

Men and churches who are interested in this program may contact Dr. Marsh Fant, Director of Church Consulting and Strategic Planning, at (803) 517-3701 or mfant@gfamissions.org.

 Printed Resources

In Search of God’s Man: A Help for Pulpit CommitteesDouglas E. Devore
142-page guide published in 2002 by Bob Jones University Press in Greenville , SC.

 The Right Pastor:Seeking God’s Man for Your ChurchWesley E. Johnson
112-page workbook filled with helpful advice, charts, and sample forms. Published by Regular Baptist Press and designed for use by fundamental Baptist churches.

 The Compensation Handbook for Church Staff
Produced annually by Christian Ministry Resources in Matthews, NC, this excellent resource provides results of extensive national surveys of ministry compensation in all church staff positions and explains compensation planning in depth.

Graduates

God’s Will

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said, “There’s a prepared place for a prepared man.” It is crucial that the prospective candidate have this sure confidence that God has a place for him. God’s timing will be perfect as a man is totally surrendered to do His perfect will. Leave your present location and ministry only with the clear leading of God. Patiently work out difficulties and endure hardships before seeking another ministry too soon. Seek godly counsel from experienced men of God. Sometimes a man should seek to improve his personal ministry effectiveness where he is rather than seeking to relocate.   Lay all these matters before the throne of God in earnest prayer—and be willing to do His will wherever, whenever, and under whatever circumstances He directs. See Resources for further help.

 

Personal Integrity

It is highly unethical to leave a ministry because of serious mismanagement (financial, personnel, etc.) or misbehavior (immorality, indiscretion, etc.) and go on to a new ministry. We will not knowingly recommend a man who has disqualified himself from the ministry through sexual indiscretion or immorality or damaged his integrity through financial dishonesty or other disqualifying attitudes and actions.

Procedure

Application Process

Please be aware that this is a multistep process. We have done our best to make the steps clear; but if at any time you have questions, please contact us by phone or email. If you have not already completed a registration form and received a password, you will need to sign-up for an account after reading the instructions below. The registration form should be filled out completely and accurately. Once you complete the form, you will need to verify your email address through a link which will be emailed to you.  Usually within two to three business days, you will receive an email regarding the status of your application. If it has been approved, you will be sent a link to set your password and complete your Personal and Academic Profiles as well as upload a resume and select information to show to churches in your portfolio. Once you have completed your profile and uploaded your resume, you will be granted access to view the profiles of churches seeking staff members (NOTE: you must have a resume uploaded onto your profile in order to apply to a church through the system).  By allowing both parties (the church and the prospective candidate) to see each other’s information, an initial evaluation can be made to see if there is good reason to pursue obtaining more information directly from each other.

Viewing the Ministry Positions

Once your registration has been processed, your Personal Profile has been completed, and your resume has been uploaded, you may log in at any time to view available ministry positions. To view and/or print each ministry position, you may click on the name of the church or position that you would like to view. The list of opportunities that you see will be continually updated as we receive new profiles and as positions are filled. To our best knowledge, the list of church positions available to you will be as current as possible.

Things to Keep in Mind

BJU enjoys a broad base of contacts with fundamental churches and organizations.  Be aware that a great majority of the churches seeking a pastor are under 100 in congregation size (which reflects the church size norm in the United States). There are several other trends of which you should be aware. There are normally very few true “associate” or “assistant” positions available that are not related to youth ministries. Therefore, we advise that one seeking such a position also indicate that he is willing to be a youth pastor. In addition, while some churches are capable of employing a youth pastor (strictly speaking), most churches prefer strongly to have a youth pastor with multifaceted abilities and interests. We often get requests for youth/music combination men.

If you are interested in a full-time Bible teaching or school music position in a Christian school, use Career Central, BJU’s other online job board for education and non-ministerial job opportunities.

Keeping Your Profile Active

Your Personal Profile will automatically become inactive after 180 days unless you choose for it to remain active. You will receive an email one week in advance to let you know that you must indicate either that you would like for the profile to remain active or that you are no longer seeking a position. You may indicate this by replying to the notification or by emailing churchstaffing@bju.edu to ask for an extension on your profile. Important note: If you change your email address, please update your profile so that you will continue to receive these email notifications. You may update your profile at any time by logging in, going to the My Profile tab and selecting “Edit” next to the section you wish to update. Please be sure to select “Save Changes” after you update any field or your changes will be lost.

Timetable

It may take 12 months or more (sometimes much longer) for a man to be placed into a new senior pastorate. Do not be discouraged or overly concerned if you do not secure a position quickly. Churches are generally slow in making decisions, especially regarding a senior pastor. Youth pastor and assistant pastor candidates may be able to relocate to a new ministry in 6 to 12 months when those positions are plentiful. Churches may often be considering numerous resumes before they narrow their search. We encourage you to retain your present employment so that your family has adequate support. At the same time, you should have the freedom to move reasonably quickly to a new location should a church officially call you to serve on its staff.

Following Up with Churches

Prospective candidates differ in how they prefer to follow up on church contacts after applying for a position. Some men prefer to do nothing until the church contacts them. Others will call the church to see if more doctrinal information or perhaps a preaching recording would be helpful. Some will send a friendly follow-up letter along with a full resume and preaching sample. There is nothing wrong with a friendly, non-pushy letter or phone call. The spirit of such a call or letter should be that the prospective candidate is open to and interested in pursuing the opportunity should the Lord lead the church leadership to seek more information from him.  A prospective candidate may want to include an endorsement letter from a veteran pastor who has observed him in the ministry. We do ask the church’s search committee to contact you, but that is sometimes difficult for those involved. Avoid in-depth questioning of the church at this point, and do not send a questionnaire to the church.  The church may send a questionnaire to you. Wait for a more serious candidating or “pre-candidating” opportunity to ask the in-depth questions.

Putting Your Resume “On Hold”

If there is a period of time that you would like for your resume to become unavailable to churches, you have the option to put your resume “on hold.” For instance, you may wish to place your resume on hold if you are trying to work through the church profiles you have already selected or if you are seriously considering a particular position. To place your resume on hold, either contact Career Services or select “No” for “Include in Resume Books” on the privacy tab on your profile. We do not recommend that you do this regularly or for an extended period of time. To take your resume “off hold,” either contact Career Services again or select “Yes” for “Include in Resume Books” on your privacy tab. Remember that your account will still become inactive 180 days after the original submission date. We will send you a notification one week in advance that your resume is about to become inactive in order to give you the opportunity to keep it active.

Terminating the Procedure

There may be a variety of reasons for terminating the procedure. You may have found a position (either in a church we recommended or through another contact) or perhaps you are no longer seeking a position. Whatever the case, please let our office know right away. To do so, please email us. If you have found a ministry position, please let us know where that is so we may update our records when we deactivate your Church Staffing Services account.

Future Opportunities

Some men change ministries much too frequently. If a man is changing ministries every three to four years, he will find churches hesitant to consider him as a serious candidate. The University may also be hindered in its recommendation of a man who changes ministries too frequently. One should go to the new ministry with every intention of staying a long time or until God definitely moves him. This is especially true of senior pastors.

Special Note on Musical Style

If you notice that some churches use a percentage of music other than traditional/conservative, please do not assume that we endorse what they are using. Perhaps the church wants to improve its music program and wants a BJU graduate to assist. Time constraints hinder us from investigating the nuances of the music issues. However, if you discover that a church’s music is totally unacceptable, please let us know. There are times when we do not help churches because of their music practices. We want you to be aware of what we are telling our churches concerning musical style:

Bob Jones University is well known for its conservative, traditional, dynamic approach to church music. To our best knowledge, the graduates we are recommending to churches are generally in sympathy with our standards and practice. We believe that they would not be compatible with a church that regularly uses rock-style contemporary Christian music in its services. We want churches to be aware of this reality prior to submitting the Church Profile requesting the names of prospective candidates for any position.

Additional Tips

  1. Do not become overly reliant upon electronic communication, especially when dealing with search committees looking for a senior pastor and pastors looking for staff.   Continue to mail letters, resumes, and other personal profile information by regular mail on professional stationery.  Be sure that all documents are checked for spelling and grammar by someone other than yourself.
  2. “Put your best foot forward”—When choosing a sample recording of your preaching, select one of your very best messages.
  3. Use an enthusiastic, though not overbearing, phone manner.
  4. It is important to describe well your life and ministry history in addition to your heart for ministry in documents beyond the personal profile and resume.  I recommend a one- to two-page biographical and ministry profile (written in paragraph form) about you and your wife. You should also write a two- or three-page cover letter when sending your resume and biographical profile.  You may wish to send a personal or family photo of high quality. You may choose to provide a church with both a hard copy and an electronic copy—these additional documents may be uploaded to “My Documents” and posted, along with a photo, in your portfolio.
  5. You should be prepared to provide a personal doctrinal statement and/or philosophy of ministry statement should these documents be requested by the church.  You may also upload these to “My Documents” and your portfolio if desired. Churches will often send to candidates a lengthy questionnaire.  Save your answers for questionnaires that may come from other churches.
  6. Your most valuable reference is likely your most recent ministry employer (e.g., the pastor you served with as a youth or assistant pastor).   Be careful to leave your current ministry on a positive note.
  7. Consider using a variety of ministry contacts to assist you in letting your desire for a new ministry be known more widely.   These could include evangelists, camp directors, mission board directors, traveling college/seminary speakers, and pastors who have substantial contact with other pastors.
  8. Pray that God will direct you to the place of His choosing in His perfect timing according the principles of His Word.  Focus upon your current ministry and making the most of the opportunity that God has already given you.  Seek to improve your ministry skills for greater effectiveness now and in the future.  Consult with seasoned men of God for personal advice.  Perhaps a mature pastor’s wife could offer advice and counsel to your wife about whether or not a transition to another ministry is truly advisable.
  9. Become familiar with the process of changing ministries through the books we have noted as good resources.  You may wish to search online for additional help posted by other ministries.

The Gospel Fellowship Association Interim Pastor Ministry is a program using pastors who are at the age where they are ready to step away from the burdens of the senior pastorate but still have a great deal of ministry left in them. This ministry is intended to provide a service to churches that are between pastors and would like experienced pastoral stability during the time they are seeking God’s permanent man. The interim pastor is more than simply a pulpit supply. He functions in a pastoral capacity but should not be considered as a pastoral candidate by the church.

Men and churches who are interested in this program may contact Dr. Marsh Fant, Director of Church Consulting and Strategic Planning, at (803) 517-3701 or mfant@gfamissions.org..

Printed Resources

Before You Move: A Guide to Making Transitions in the Ministry, John Cionca
Helpful in sorting through the relocation and candidating issues. Revised and expanded edition of the previously published title Red Light, Green Light: Discerning the Time for a Change in Ministry, 1994. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids , 2004.

In Search of God’s Man: A Help for Pulpit CommitteesDouglas E. Devore
142-page guide published in 2002 by Bob Jones University Press in Greenville , SC.

The Right Pastor: Seeking God’s Man for Your ChurchWesley E. Johnson
112-page workbook filled with helpful advice, charts, and sample forms. Published by Regular Baptist Press and designed for use by fundamental Baptist churches.

The Compensation Handbook for Church Staff
Produced annually by Christian Ministry Resources in Matthews, NC, this excellent resource provides results of extensive national surveys of ministry compensation in all church staff positions and explains compensation planning in depth.

OTHER

Questions Can Help, by Ken Collier (a list of questions for prospective youth pastors to ask)