Do you know the #1 reason missionaries leave the field? Irreconcilable discord among the team. After talking to girls ministers all over the country, I would say this is the same reason many youth staffers leave.
When you are spending well above a 9-5, weekends and holidays with people, it is important to remember that you are not simply filling a job but joining a “family.” You spend a lot of time together. The team I worked with was a blast- some of my favorite people in this world to this day. In this post I want to help you as you interview for a ministry position, so you can discern what type of family you’re joining. In my next post, I want to help the one giving the interview.
I have had several different kinds of jobs: marketing in a large business, teacher, and girls minister to name a few. The types of questions in each of these was different. Sure, there are the basic questions that you typically hear in interviews, but a ministry position is looking for something different. For example, when I interviewed once for a sales position they were more concerned with my business degree and Spanish language skills than “my calling” or “my story.” So, you should google “10 questions you might be asked in an interview” but I hope this helps you with ministry specifics!
Questions you should ask
I once heard it said that you are interviewing the employer to see if you are a fit as much as the employer is interviewing you. I remember thinking this was so disrespectful and prideful until I took my first more than 3 hours a week job in college without asking any questions. Some great questions to consider asking:
1. What are some gifts or abilities you are looking for for this position?
This will reveal what your employer values. Personally some answers I would like are: Someone who wants to be a part of a team. Someone who shares the Gospel and disciples and can teach the girls to do the same. Someone who cares for others and will help our team create opportunities to minister to our neighborhood and schools that the students attend.
Red flags: I’m not sure. What do you think?*
2. How do you see my position as similar and also different than the guys on staff?
This will reveal how your employer views your role on the team. Personally what I would like to hear: We want you to create specific opportunities for the girls and female leaders and also help us with planning student wide and family opportunities. We value your input and we want you to be heard, cared for and we want your gifts to be used. I’m married and I’m close with my sister-we will take good care of you.
Red flags: I haven’t thought about this.*
3. Does your staff do anything together outside of work?
This will reveal any hierarchy or what type of “team” this team is. You may expect a different answer depending on your season, if you don’t know anyone in the city yet, or your personality. When I was an intern and single and 23, I would like to hear (and did hear): We go to school lunches together 3-4 times a week, we work hard and play hard- you will work a lot, but you will work with some of the most fun, talented and godly people you’ll ever meet. In this season, older, married, and with some kiddos- I would like to hear a similar answer but also: We want our families to be first. We want to know your kids, share meals and holidays, and really do life together. (etc)
Red flags: Yes, we have a quarterly breakfast in the break room before staff meeting. ha (Again, this is a personality thing. Know yourself well to know what type of team you function well in).
Questions to prepare for:
I loved conducting interviews. It was so fun to hear people’s stories and how the Lord shaped them. I wanted to know their hearts not simply “skills.” More questions will be in the next post. However, I want to encourage you to go somewhere distraction free and pray. Knowing God’s call and knowing yourself will help you both answer and question with wisdom in an interview. With an open Bible and moleskin, take a page each to answer the following questions:
How did you meet Jesus?
Why do you want to work with teenagers?
What are your spiritual gifts, how have you used them, and how are you currently using them?
What would you love to see God do through you in this position?
If there is a helpful question or answer you’ve heard in a ministry interview, please share it in the comments. If you’re seeking a position in girls ministry, please email us your resume at email@example.com We have friends seeking interns, admins, and full time ministry staff in churches, ministries and various non-profits. Lastly, if you need further help with answering questions on the spot, here is a quick tutorial via interview guru Michael Scott.
Happy Interviewing! - Amy
*I say these are red flags, because that means that your employer does not have a plan for your position. His team may not know how to give you positive feedback, further training, or encouragement if they do not have expectations and goals for you. This will take discernment on your part if you want to work for an employer who cannot articulate your job description.