How To Write a Pastor Resume

Ministry-related resumes often look different than secular ones. Providing a potential congregation or other hiring organization with your pastoral credentials and highlighting relevant experience is important. Ministry resumes can also include personal details that churches find important when seeking a pastor who is the right fit. Keep reading to discover actionable advice for creating a pastor resume that connects with congregations and helps you secure a pulpit.

  • Entry-Level
  • Mid-Career
  • Senior-Level
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1. Craft an outstanding profile with a summary of your pastor qualifications

As a ministry professional, your resume profile should touch on three topics:

  • Your experience related to the job
  • Your pastoral education or certifications
  • Relevant personal beliefs

For example, if you’re applying for a preaching position, you may want to highlight your public speaking experience and theology background. But if you’re applying for a teaching pastor position, you might want to include teaching and leadership experience and any teaching certificates you might have.

Senior-Level Profile Example


An ordained pastor with over 10 years of professional experience specializing in theology, pastoral care, public ministry, and spiritual guidance. A strong history of providing spiritual support and leadership to diverse communities. Adept at teaching biblical studies and leading initiatives to develop religious education programs for adults and children.

Entry-Level Profile Example


A recent graduate with a master’s degree in theology specializing in community outreach, spiritual development, youth ministry, and preaching. A proven track record of supporting volunteer and charity initiatives to aid the local community.

2. Showcase your pastor experience

Shine a light on your past ministry accomplishments with an easy-to-scan bulleted list. Be as specific as possible in this section, using numbers and details to create a complete picture of your value to a church or other ministry organization.

You might include figures about congregation growth, increased donations, or the expansion of church staff under your watch. Less experienced pastors might include details about volunteer work or specific results achieved during ministry internships.

Senior-Level Professional Experience Example


Senior Pastor
St. Margaret’s Methodist Church, New York, NY | May 2016 – present

  • Serve as senior pastor for an Episcopal congregation with over 400 members, which includes conducting weekly religious services, selecting scripture readings, and delivering sermons to broaden understanding of biblical stories concerning  daily life
  • Provide pastoral care to the elderly population, perform funeral services, and deliver continued spiritual and emotional support to family members
  • Oversee marriage ceremonies, provide pastoral counseling to couples, perform baptisms, and provide education on religious rites

Entry-Level Professional Experience Example


Ministry Volunteer
Teen Challenge, Boston, MA | May 2020 – present

  • Provide youth ministry services to teenagers and adults suffering from behavioral and substance abuse issues
  • Deliver pastoral counseling and teach Bible classes to facilitate the spiritual and personal growth of program members
  • Coordinate with counselors, ministers, pastors, and volunteers to plan and execute events and community service initiatives

3. Outline your education and pastor-related certifications

Detail all post-secondary education, whether directly related to ministry or not. The work it takes to earn something like a Bachelor of Arts in Biology or a Master’s in Finance, not to mention the valuable information you learn in getting the degree, has a bearing on your ability to serve successfully as a pastor. However, ensure your ministry credentials stand out. Include Bible college or training, theology or divinity degrees, and relevant certificates such as a pastoral counseling certification.

Education

Template

  • [Degree Name]
  • [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] – [Graduation Month and Year]

Example

  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Temple University, Philadelphia, PA – September 2015

Certifications

Template

  • [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization], [Completion Year]

Example

  • Pastoral Counseling, Liberty University, 2016

4. Include a list of skills and proficiencies related to pastors

When you align your resume with a job posting, you increase your chances of moving forward in the hiring process. Church hiring committees or others may scan resumes as they sort through applicants, looking for critical key skills that match the position. Your resume’s relevant proficiencies should match your experience and the jobs you see. Still, some common vital skills for pastors include:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Biblical knowledge Children’s ministry
Community outreach Evangelism
Event management Grief counseling
Leadership Mediating
Mentoring Pastoral counseling
Pastoral teaching Preaching
Prayer Public speaking
Resource management Theology
Worship leading Youth ministry

How To Pick the Best Pastor Resume Template

Choose a pastor resume template that ensures your strengths stand out. For example, if you have decades of experience and plenty of accomplishments in ministry, select a template that places past work history and achievements front and center. Less experienced pastors may want to choose a template that allows education details and volunteer roles to shine. However, if you order the information on your resume, stick with a professional and easy-to-read template. Leave the fancy fonts and whimsical formatting to the church bulletin team.

Pastor Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Entry-Level
  • Mid-Level
  • Senior-Level

Raheem Thompson
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]
123 Your Street, Philadelphia, PA 12345

Profile

An empathetic Pastor with six years of professional experience, specializing in preaching, program management, pastoral counseling, and relationship building. A proven track record of delivering spiritual services and managing religious congregations. Adept at developing partnerships with local organizations to drive community engagement.

Professional Experience

Head Pastor, Center City Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA
May 2018 – Present

  • Serve as the primary preacher for church services, prepare sermons to enrich the spiritual life of parishioners, and draw parallels between biblical passages, world events, and everyday life to provide comfort and guidance to the congregation
  • Deliver pastoral counseling to the congregation and external members of the local community, including adults, teenagers, children, families, and couples
  • Build and develop relationships with community leaders and local non-profit organizations to execute charity events and religious outreach initiatives

Pastor, South Philly Baptist, Philadelphia, PA
September 2015 – May 2018

  • Provided pastoral care and spiritual instruction to congregation members and taught weekly Bible courses to expand understanding of scripture
  • Wrote and delivered sermons during religious events to provide spiritual guidance and support to the religious community
  • Managed the operating budget for the church and allocated funds to provide relief for congregation members suffering from financial hardships or loss

Education

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA September 2013 – September 2015

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Biblical Studies
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA September 2009 – May 2013

Key Skills

  • Pastoral Care
  • Community Engagement
  • Preaching
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Program Management

Frequently Asked Questions: Pastor Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for pastor resumes?-

Congregations want to know their pastor is a leader who can act. To avoid being viewed as a passive pastoral candidate by hiring churches or other organizations, include powerful action verbs in your resume. When you start bullet points and sentences with these verbs, you paint a picture of someone who accomplishes things, which can help you stand out among other applicants. Start with the list below for inspiration as you craft your resume:

Action Verbs
Administer Communicate
Comfort Conduct
Counsel Develop
Facilitate Inspire
Interpret Lead
Manage Officiate
Oversee Perform
Preach Serve
Shepherd Speak
Teach Worship
How do you align your resume with a pastoral job description?-

You wouldn't step into the pulpit with a canned sermon that lacks any context or reference to what's important in the lives of your congregants. Similarly, it’s best not to send a canned pastor resume when you apply for a job. Instead, take some time to review the job posting so you can customize your resume appropriately. Align your resume with the posting by including some of the keywords used by the hiring organization and ensuring your most relevant qualifications stand out.

With religious organizations hiring more than 25,000 clergy nationwide and many other organizations doing the same, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the positions are out there. Knowing how to tweak your resume appropriately can help you land one.

What is the best pastor resume format?-

Most pastors will probably benefit from the tried-and-true reverse-chronological resume format. It includes your work experience from newest to oldest to tell a story about your history in the ministry. If you have many unique skills and knowledge to bring to a position, you can opt for a combination format that puts an equal emphasis on work history and skills.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume

Also, a strong pastor cover letter tailored to the job listing can increase your chances of success. It provides a place for more personal details, such as information about your family, that might be pertinent to your ministry. Need inspiration before you write yours? Check out our pastor resume cover letter example.

Frank headshot

Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

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