Are Pastor (Ministry) Resumes and Secular Resumes the Same?


I happened upon a blog where the writer was extremely disappointed with the documents presented by the pastoral candidate. I would venture a guess the ministry worker modeled his / her resume and cover letter style after a secular version. To help those individuals who believe they should write their own pastor resume, I have created a brief guide that will help you appropriately assemble your information.


A Pastor’s Resume and the secular job seeker’s may be similar in formatting but the ministry resume offers a more personalized narrative of the applicant. Both (the ministry and secular oriented resume) contain the job seeker’s core information – name and contact method, work experience, and education / certifications / licensures. Both should be visually appealing (without quirky font types) and offer an honest review of the job seeker’s skills, qualifications, and dates of employment. And, either can be written in chronological, functional, or hybrid format and may contain an objective or summary statement, a profile section, and affiliations section. But this is where the similarities end.


The secular resume never contains references or personal information whereas the ministry resume most certainly contains both and more. Pastoral candidates and ministry workers are Called to shepherd the flock, evangelize to the lost, equip the saints to do His work and build up the church.  Selection committees need to know your beliefs, your vision, and your passion. These can be conveyed through a philosophy of ministry, a doctrinal statement, and / or a personal pilgrimage section.


A Pastor’s resume needs to offer personal information in order to provide the selection committee with valuable insights about the candidate and their ministry. Brief statements that clearly communicate the candidate’s specific, yet unique qualifications and experiences will give the selection committee a better understanding of how God might use those gifts within their setting. Committees will also want to see your references so they may contact individuals who can attest to your abilities within the ministry. Generally, three to six references are given and the candidate may want to include a mix of personal and professional contacts.


As you move forward with your job search, May God bless you with the abilities needed to fulfill your responsibilities to equip believers to do His work here on earth.


I’d love to hear from you …




Tammy Shoup, CPRW is a Christian Resume Writer dedicated to helping Pastoral Candidates, Ministry Workers, and Christian Job Seekers launch a successful job search campaign. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and National Résumé Writer’s Association.  She is also a past member of the Christian Writer’s Guild.