5 Things Good Resumes and Webpages Have in Common

A successful webpage has some distinctive features that most users appreciate such as clean design, easy navigation, and a logically concise information layout.

The best resumes I’ve read also had these same elements.

When I review resumes, there are things that turn me off, predisposing me to not seriously consider a candidate for a position. In my experiences, these things are:

  • Hidden key information – Either they’ve not started with the critical information (name, location, current employer and experience) or it’s not easily detectible. Sometimes they choose to highlight hobbies and high school awards before letting me know what experience they’ve had that pertains to the job for which they are soliciting. And sometimes they go overboard on design, concealing key information. I like unique design like the rest of the world, but no amount of Apple-generated cool can hide the fact that a candidate doesn’t have the right experience for the position.
  • Over-stated or over-spiritualized purpose statement – I don’t discount candidates for having one, but by receiving a resume for a ministerial position, I already assume they’re believers seeking God’s will for future service. If they want to tell me that in a resume, that’s okay—but it needs to be simple and specific. Candidates may feel like they could serve in several types of positions (a utility guy or gal), but they must at least make the effort to acknowledge God’s calling to the specific area for which I’m hiring.
  • Long cover letter – I don’t mind quick introductions that connect the dots, but I already have their resumes. I don’t need 500 additional words in paragraph form to tell me what I can find in it. If I want additional information, I’ll ask for it as a part of my follow-up.
  • Unchecked resume – A resume should be a product of your best efforts. I realize it’s just a snapshot, but it should be an accurate and grammatically-sound snapshot.
  • Too much information – A resume doesn’t have to cover everything. Just entice me to want to know more. If a resume does that, there will be an opportunity to tell me more. Dossiers serve their purpose, but are rarely required in an initial resume submittal for a ministry setting.

P.S. In a ministry context, I believe these turn-offs are fairly universal. But as a post-script, here are a few items I recommend you include (in order), and things I personally like to see when reviewing a resume:

  1. Experience – This trumps most everything. Let me know where you’re currently serving, then list other significant ministry services in historical order.
  2. Education
  3. Ministry Accomplishments
  4. Family Description* (if applicable) – This can be first or last. By listing them last, I don’t assume that’s where you order them in value.
  5. A Picture* – A simple, professional one is best. (I don’t need one of you in a bike helmet finishing your triathlon.)
  6. Personality Profile Results – If you’ve completed DISCPLACEStrength Finders, etc., let me know the key findings of your results. Even if I don’t understand them fully, a quick online search can provide me insightful information on who God created you to be (offering the “full profile results” as requested is a nice touch).
  7. Your Everyday Name – Don’t use your full name if you don’t want me to call you that. If you go by “Mike,” then write “Mike.” Using your first, middle, and last names is important if you’re really important and/or there’s someone with your same name competing with you in creating intellectual property.
  8. E-mail Address – Make it professional. I rarely take a candidate seriously if I have to type NinjaMinister@gmail.com.

*Because I am advising you on what I like to view on a resume I can make those statements. But requesting those components of a candidate as the hiring church could be crossing legal lines (I’d suggest consulting an attorney for clarification if it’s important to you).

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How a Baby’s Funeral Taught Me Reliance

For multiple years, through a local hospital’s ministry, I had the honor of conducting memorial services for parents who had lost their babies in utero or within the first months of life.

Each year, these saddened families came and gathered underneath the tent near a graveside marker titled “Tiniest Angels.” Many brought toys or stuffed animals to hold onto or place at the grave marker. In many instances, this was the only memorial service certain families experienced for their child.

littlest angelsPhoto courtesy of Jeff Black @jeffblack76

The first year I spoke at the service, not only had I not lost a child, I was not even a dad.  I couldn’t empathize with their loss. How was I to give hope to these families?

With my inadequacies, never more did I rely on the truth and hope of God’s Word.  It’s something I wished permeated all my actions. Full dependence on God allows Him his greatest work. With my inadequacies, I never gave hope to those families, but God did.

Since then, ministry has allowed me more opportunities to be used by God. And with my parenting privilege quadrupling, I find myself in the same frame of mind I was in while preparing for those memorial services–total reliance on God.

The stakes are too high for me to try to meander through ministry and life with Brian-sized strength to do God’s work.

Like me, you’re not prepared for all the opportunities God will present you. But God provides ample amounts of Himself so we can be used by Him. I hope you and I continue to live in the tension of not being enough ourselves, but serving a God who is enough.

What life circumstances have taught or forced reliance on God for you? I’d like to have the conversation via Twitter or email.


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Why we require a leadership course for staff and 5 reasons you should too

It felt just like the first day of a college class. The syllabus was passed out and the instruction method was explained. And then, the assessment tool was revealed—a comprehensive test at the end of the semester.

Worse yet for me, the instructor and test proctor was my direct supervisor!

In college, I always remember being overwhelmed by the syllabi the first week of classes. And six months into my new job at Brentwood Baptist, I felt a little overwhelmed too. But this 40-hour required course on leadership has grown on me, and its value to the church staff has been evident.

Eleven years ago, a key lay leader introduced Brentwood Baptist to a leadership class. He had several key staff members certified to teach the course, called Model-Netics, a Main Event Management course.

At that time, we were the only church to engage it. It’s mainly corporations that teach it to their employees. But even as a church, we wanted to teach leadership principles. While our instructors have some ability to contextualize it to our church situation, it’s mainly about applying leadership principles, wherever you work.

Here’s why we require all of our full-time employees (support staff, administration staff, professional staff, and ministers) to take this course and pass the test:

  • The leadership models give us a common language. Of the 151 models, I’d say 25 of them are used in everyday nomenclature amongst the staff. When the language is used, we’re all on the same page and clearly understand what is being communicated.
  • It gives us a common approach for “accomplishing pre-determined objectives through others” (Model-Netics definition for management).
  • For those who supervise, it gives clear goals for supervising. For those who don’t supervise at work, it gives them a clear expectation of how they should be supervised.
  • As with most leadership principles, they can be applied in everyday life outside the office. Most everyone exerts leadership in some realm, so this content is helpful wherever they might lead.
  • In addition, our church leadership trumpets self-development. This is one of the methods we offer for self-development.

Every organization needs to improve, and the church is no exception. Many ministers feel accomplished when they complete seminary, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize the lack of parallels between their school curricula and their actual job responsibilities.With our staff leadership, this course closes that gap.

If a church is led well, it gives an excellent opportunity to minister well too.

Model-Netics is a worthy course. There are other great leadership courses, but the point is that we as church leaders should be teaching management and leadership. We should facilitate self-development.

Do you have a required leadership course at your church?

What’s been your experience?

Do you feel there’s a place for leadership training in church that isn’t focused on the biblical leadership?

I’d love to hear from you via Twitter or email.


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