So as I have stated in past post’s, I am currently looking to transition to a new ministry context. What goes along with that is the joy of being interview by Search Teams at the various churches, and for those just starting out in Ministry, this is one of the first times you will have to actually show how much you know. Walking into an interview, or being called on the phone for an interview, can be intimidating and cause you great stress, because honestly, you want the job, and you want to have what it takes to get it.
As someone who has done the interviewing and who has been interviewed, let me lay out 3 pieces of advice for going into a Youth Ministry interview;
1.) Be Real
Don’t Lie about your experience and don’t “pad” the numbers. No one knows your limitations as a leader as well as you do, and trust me, for your own sake in the long run, don’t get in over your head. Sure, you will be more attractive to the church interviewing you if you can tell of your 13 years of experience leading a youth group of 200 kids. But if it really is 3 years experience leading a group of 30 kids, your going to hate life in a few months when suddenly your not meeting the expectations of the Board OR the kids because you don’t know what your doing. Be honest about your limitations as a Leader, and be Real about your experience.
2.) Be Guarded
An unfortunate reality of Youth Ministry is that often times we make transitions due to conflict. There is a fine line between being real and open about your experience and sharing too much. Want to know how much is too much? Are you bad mouthing your previous church. If you are, you’ve gone too far. Don’t spend 20 minutes telling the search team all about your junk with the last church, they don’t want to hear it. If you have concerns about their the way their church functions to ensure you aren’t getting into a similar position, then thats one thing. But to simply be rambling on about how the previous pastor did this and that is only serving the purpose of helping them weed your name out of their list.
3. Be Yourself
This one really is just going along side point number 1. Your not Doug Fields or Josh Griffin, you don’t write books on Youth Ministry, you don’t know all the answers. So don’t act like you do, and don’t act like your God’s gift to Student Ministry. But you are a unique person, a unique Youth Pastor, who could be uniquely called to that church to serve a specific purpose in the ministry. Don’t try and be someone else, be who you are. You have a specific set of unique gifts that God has shaped to bless a group of students with specific needs. So be who you are, don’t be who you think the church wants to get a job, be who you are, if thats what the church needs, then they will look at you like you ARE Doug Fields.