Audiobook in Production: Don’t Just Send a Resume

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I’m excited about the production of the audiobook for my recent book to help pastors in the job-search process, Don’t Just Send a Resume. The audiobook will be available for purchase in the next 8–10 weeks. The narrator is David K. Martin. I’ve listened to the first part a few times, and he’s doing a fantastic job.

You can listen to a 5-min sample of the preface below.  

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It took me five years to earn my seminary degree. It was exhausting. It cost thousands of dollars and took thousands of hours to learn what I needed to learn so I could help lead a local church. Eventually that training was complete, and it was time for my classmates and me to look for jobs.

This didn’t go well for many of us. In fact, some students—men I respect and thought would make great pastors—struggled to find the right church or any church at all.

In a word, they floundered.

Why? Because they didn’t know how to find a job. They didn’t know what they were doing. I suspect there are valid reasons why this was the case.

First, they forgot—or they never learned—that the business world is different from the vocational ministry world. These differences startled me when I began interviewing for pastoral jobs. For example, during the interview process with one church, the pastors visited my home for a meal. They met my entire family and even saw my laundry room during a tour of our house. Trust me, this never happened during my former career as a mechanical engineer.

Second, pastors struggle to connect with the right local church because many seminaries don’t have margin to teach students how to transition from the classroom. For every book a professor includes, there are ten others he or she wanted to add but couldn’t.

If you’re a seminary student about to graduate, it’s no guarantee you’ll have a pastoral job in a few months. You know the feeling—and it’s terrifying. In his book to help pastors during transitions, John Cionca writes, “Occasionally, I meet seminarians who view a Master of Divinity degree as a union card. They figure that someone owes them a church upon graduation.” I’m not sure I’d go this far, but I understand the sentiment. All that effort, time, and money—in addition to a sense of calling that’s been confirmed by others—creates certain expectations, or at least certain hopes.

So, when the end of the tunnel starts to look more hopeless than hopeful, disillusionment and panic ensue. It’s overwhelming to think about all the steps involved in finding the right job, especially if you’ve never done it before. Where do I start? Who do I talk to? What do I send them? It’s no less terrifying when you’re currently in a church but considering a new role. How do I know my family and I will fit at the new church? How do I tell people I’m leaving?

For all those questions, we pastors need solid coaching. We need processes that are theologically informed and practically oriented. We need anecdotes from real hiring processes, and we need strategies for every step of the way.

This is what Don’t Just Send a Resume is about. Consider for a moment an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). An EMT, though trained, needs an ambulance to get him to the accident. He’s been trained to help those who are hurt, but he needs a ride to be able to do so. If he can’t get to the accident, he can’t help. In the same way, I’m not interested in pastors earning a lot of money or finding the flashiest job. I simply want to get those who are trained to help—pastors—on the path to those churches who need their help.

This whole project started with two e-mails. Joel, a friend from seminary, emailed me to ask for advice about finding a job in a church. That was three and a half years ago. Joel was about to transition from one church to another, and he was looking for help. I sent him an e-mail with ten suggestions. Who sends a ten-point e-mail? I guess I do! Anyway, Joel found my thoughts, as well as the subsequent coaching I gave him, helpful. After that, my e-mail to Joel grew into a series of blog posts. Then came eighteen months of research with my nose in books on the topic, both church-specific and business-specific books. Then came over fifty interviews with pastors of all different ages and roles and denominations who’d recently made a pastoral transition. Then I reached out to other pastors and authors who have thought deeply about pastoral transitions, asking them to contribute to the book. And finally, this book—or, rather, this ambulance.

Let’s go for a ride.