our everyday life

How to Include Pastoral Skills in a Resume Without Using the Word Pastor

by Kristine Tucker

As a pastor, you might want a career change or a job outside the ministry and need to update your resume. A pastor is more than a shepherd, so it's important to create a resume that spells out all your skills and responsibilities. Potential employers will likely appreciate your wide range of experiences and your strong leadership skills.

Administrative Responsibilities

Pastors have a range of administrative abilities that include preparing weekly bulletins, organizing outreaches and overseeing nursery, children, teen, adult and senior ministry departments. They complete denominational paperwork to maintain their credentials, fill out government forms to meet tax requirements, update church policies and create sermons. On a resume, generalize your administrative skills and include bullet points such as "created newsletters and brochures for diverse age groups," "drafted inspirational speeches," "organized community events," "created, implemented and enforced organizational policies," and "performed complex administrative tasks such as nonprofit and 501c tax requirements."

Financal Duties

Pastors often have board members, bookkeepers and accountants who help maintain the finances of the church, but some financial responsibilities rest on their shoulders. They create budgets for their departments, collect tithes, pay vendors for supplies and services, and report income and outgo to ensure there are no discrepancies. Your resume should include your finance expertise. You might say, "supervised all financial responsibilities of the organization," "created and maintained monthly and annual budgets," "distributed funds to various departments to ensure sufficient resources were available," "used accounting software to report and document all financial transactions," and "performed accounts payable and accounts receivable tasks."

Customer Relations

Some pastors don't like to think of tending to their sheep as creating and sustaining strong customer relations, but the two tasks are similar. Pastors must sell their church to get new attendees, conduct ministry outreaches and provide follow-up care to those in need of spiritual guidance. They often create and oversee programs to help those in need of food or shelter, or support local and foreign missions programs. List skills such as "supervised teams to ensure strong customer relations," "developed call-back programs to follow up on clients," "hosted community fundraisers, soup kitchens and food pantries," and "conducted weekly meetings with clients and sponsors."

Ministry Experiences

There are some pastoral skills that are specific to the profession and are difficult to convey in non-religious terms, such as conducting weddings or funerals, praying for those in need, counseling church members and teaching biblical principles. You must get creative when you list skills associated with these practices. You might say, "advised and counseled clients on life skills, financial planning and tips for building healthy relationships," "consoled those who experienced loss," "conducted ceremonies," and "taught educational courses on history, faith, healthy living and setting personal goals."

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images