The best time to prepare for an earthquake or storm is before the calamity hits! Similarly, as a person in ministry, the best time for you to prepare for what’s next is when there is actually not a need.
Prepare for the next position while you’re happy in your current role.
A change in church leadership, economy, calling, or being presented a fantastic new challenge (among many other reasons) may be “the big one” in the life of a minister. Being prepared in some specific ways before you need to be will help propel you to what’s next.
There are 3 essential ways a person can prepare for a future opportunity before they even know an opportunity is out there:
1. Have A Teaching Video
About 25% of the applicants I do interviews with have a video of their teaching, yet nearly 100% of the churches I do placements for require it (though some will settle for audio). Before you NEED to capture a video (because you’ve thrown your name in the hat elsewhere) or before it’s TOO LATE to capture video (because you’ve resigned or been let go) you should prioritize capturing a teaching video (preferably with a live audience).
As a general practice, I believe it’s essential that a youth pastor video him/herself in order to self-assess teaching, style and presentation. Capturing video of yourself when you’re not looking for a job is the best time to do it— you’re the most relaxed, you are teaching and shepherding “your” group, and your motivation for capturing is truly to improve your skills.
2. Keep Your Resume Updated
Keeping the most pertinent and up-to-date information on your resume will help you if the need ever does arise. Instead of creating a resume out of need (looking to prove your worth), spend a little time each year updating and maintaining it (graphically, copy, etc.).
3. Take A Personality Assessment
I’m an “ENTJ,” “Strategic,” and a “high D.” Though these may mean nothing to you, these are samples of results from personality assessments I have taken. Not only were these assessments great for my own self-awareness, they have also given me the language to better explain who I am and insights into my motivations, strengths and possible blind spots.
An assessment does not define you (or put you in a box), but it may help you (or a current/future employer) better understand some of what makes you tick. It is a great tool to have to help you improve in your current role, or an asset to use when discovering whether a future opportunity is a good fit.
Capturing video, keeping your resume updated, and learning valuable insights through personality assessments will not only help to improve your current status, but could very easily pay future dividends when a new opportunity presents itself!