Your ministry resume has one purpose: to get you invited to an interview. In this session, we will discuss how to format your resume, the required content for your resume, and the purpose and execution of an effective cover letter.

Now Playing: Developing Your Ministry Resume​​

Key Takeaways

After you watch the video above, read through these key takeaways that will help guide and reinforce the main points you just viewed…

The ONLY purpose of your resume is to secure a job interview. To start the conversation. That is all.

Anything that you include on your resume that does not help you in scheduling your first interview with a church is just... well... wasted space.

Everybody has an opinion on what your resume should look like. This is art AND science.

It’s ok.

There is room for deviations.

The important thing is that you ‘do the work’ that most people don’t take the time to do.

Remember this: (and it's really simple!)

You have six seconds to make an impression with your resume.

Use your six seconds wisely.

OK... there is good news and bad news: the competition is fierce and not so fierce.

Bad news first:  churches get tons of resumes.  Your resume will be one of (maybe) hundreds a church may receive for its role opening.

The good news:  Only about 3% or so of resumes that churches receive are actually good potential fits for the role.  Many of the rest are people that are playing the numbers game... sending their resume out to as many churches as possible.

NOTE:  You will be tempted to do this as well.  Flee from that temptation. It will only frustrate you in the end.

There are some things you can’t change right now (and that’s ok):

  • Age (remember the +15 calculation and the rule of 10 that we mention in the video)
  • Gender 
  • Education/Experience
  • Job History
  • Family status

General rule of thumb: never send the same resume twice.  Each resume should have at least some kind of customization.

  • LENGTH - No more than two pages
  • ORDER - Chronological (most recent at top of each section)
  • LAYOUT - Slight graphical with a touch of color (checkout for ideas)
  • FONTS - No more than two fonts (must be tasteful/professional)
  • PERSONALIZATION - Customize for specific openings whenever possible
  • FORMAT - PDF (Always) - Name with your name & church name
  • PICTURE - Include a picture of you, possibly your family, usually
  • ACCURACY - Spell-check your entire resume (twice!)
  • EDITING - Remove anything that will not help you get the interview
  • ORGANIZATION - Use bullet points (no more than five per section)
  • CONTACT INFORMATION - Phone number, professional email address, social media links, video work sample (whenever possible)
  • MINISTRY OBJECTIVE - 2-3 Sentences maximum (I want to serve in a church that...”)
  • EMPLOYMENT/EXPERIENCE - Chronological (include locations), last ten years is usually sufficient; make your experience relate to the role you’re applying for
  • EDUCATION - Be honest and transparent; if the degree is unfinished, say so
  • REFERENCES - Leave them off... it’s too early.

Additional Resources

We’ve assembled some great supplemental learning tools that will help you in your search for a healthy, long-term fit for your staff team.  All of these exclusive Chemistry Staffing resources are available for free download for you and your search team.

After looking at literally thousands of church resumes over the years, Chemistry Staffing Co-Founder Todd Rhoades shares his insight and five key tips that will help you pass the six-second church resume test with flying colors!

Should you put a picture on your resume or is that considered unprofessional? And if you DO put a picture on your resume, should it be of just you or of you and your family? 

The length of your resume communicates. Chemistry Staffing Co-Founder Todd Rhoades shares how long he thinks your resume should be, along with five key reasons.

Your Presenters

Todd Rhoades

Todd has invested over 30 years in serving churches, having served as a worship pastor for over 15 years, a church elder for more than a decade, and in various ministry leadership roles in both the business and non-profit sectors. As the original founder and developer of, Todd fundamentally changed the way thousands of churches search for pastors and staff on the internet. Todd served for over a decade as a Director with Leadership Network, providing him exposure to the innovative trends in today’s church and inside knowledge of how healthy churches operate. A graduate of Cedarville University, Todd lives in Bryan, OH with his wife, Dawn.

Matt Steen

Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in the Orlando, FL area with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.

Need Additional Help With Your Search?

Check out these additional resources from our partners at

Our video critique will take a look at your current resume and give specific recommendations to make drastic improvements. We’ll critique your resume based on our 20 resume benchmarks:

Ministry Stability | Ministry Experience | Current Employment | Employment Consistency | Education Level | Ministry Sustainability | Employment Timeline | Stage of Life | Family Dynamics | Online Presence | Picture Quality | Humbleness Quotient | Resume Presentation | Cover Letter | Video/Work Sample | Grammar and Spelling | Font Treatment | Contact Effectiveness | Resume File Format

We’ll compare your current resume against our 20 resume benchmarks. You’ll gain the knowledge to drastically improve your resume in 24 hours or less.

We’ll go over your Resume Self-Assessment step-by-step in our one-hour call together. We’ll discuss each of our 20 resume benchmarks along with specific recommendations to make your resume better. After you make the suggested edits to your resume, we’ll provided video feedback with any follow-up items

One-on-one mentoring during your transition will make a huge difference. You’ll have a trusted partner and confidant to work with your throughout the search process. We’ll dive into areas that are important to YOU…

Should I Say or Go? | Rediscovering/Clarifying Your Calling | Determining Your Best Fit | Resume Advice | Interview Preparation | Salary Negotiation
On-Site Visit Preparation | Family Health and Relationships | Literally Anything Transition-Related!