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.
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.
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 apply 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, you will have 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 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 Ministry Positions
Once your registration has been processed and your Personal Profile has been completed, 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, please contact BJU’s Career Development and Placement Office at (864) 242-5100, Ext. 2007, or by email. That office handles all 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 calling the Office of Outreach Ministries 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.
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 Personal Profile “On Hold”
If there is a period of time that you would like for your profile to become unavailable to churches, you have the option to put your profile “on hold.” For instance, you may wish to place your profile 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 profile on hold, either contact the Office of Outreach Ministries 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. Remember that the profile 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,” either contact the Office of Outreach Ministries again or select “Yes” for “Include in Resume Books” on your privacy tab.
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.
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.
- 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.
- “Put your best foot forward”—When choosing a sample recording of your preaching, select one of your very best messages.
- Use an enthusiastic, though not overbearing, phone manner.
- 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-paragraph 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.
- 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 various churches.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.