When I decided to start over, it wasn’t as simple as finding another parish. From the outside, some churches look like they are highly successful, and many of them are doing well, but whether it’s the right fit for you is the right question. No two parishes are the same, and that means not the church you’ll work for is the right place.
A mistake that many youth ministers have made is taking a job because it’s available. I’ve met youth ministers who have said YES without looking at a job description or knowing anything more about the parish than what it’s called. This approach is dangerous, and probably one of the main reasons turnover is so high.
Whether you are looking for a ministry job or thinking about starting over, make sure you know the answers and like them, before you say YES.
4 Questions To Ask Before Taking A Job In Youth Ministry
1. How would you define success in this position?
Before you take any job, it’s essential to know what people expect. When you ask them to define success, you are asking them for a vision. If you don’t see yourself feeling motivated by what they tell you, then it’s probably best to leave.
Don’t tell yourself that you can change their vision to match yours. If it’s misaligned, you’ll cause unneeded stress and conflict. While you can disagree on strategy, having a different idea of success is harmful to you and the church. And remember just because you disagree doesn’t make either of you bad people.
2. What is the flow of the schedule and calendar?
Different parishes have different work ethics. Some enjoy telecommuting, while others focus on staff presence. Which one is better for you depends on your current season in life (E.G., New Parent) and how you work best (E.G., Collaborative Worker). What you need to figure out before you accept a job is what a typical work week looks like for an employee.
- Do You Have To Work On Weekends?
- Can You Solidify Two Days Off?
- What Time Do People Come Into Work?
- What Are The Sick, Personal, And Vacation Time Policies?
- How Many Meetings Do You Need To Attend?
- What Does It Look Like During The Holidays And Certain Seasons In The Church?
What it comes down to is what your current work ethic can handle. As someone who has family out of state, working weekends is difficult. Before I had children, I could work any hours, but now that I have a family, their schedules impact my time.
Don’t accept a job until you have a clear idea of what your work hours. Ask them to give you a calendar of events, and don’t be afraid to state your limits (E.G., You Can’t Work Saturdays Due To Family Limitations). Whether you are single, married, parents or not, you are entitled to time off, and a reasonable work schedule. If you don’t negotiate it now, it’ll be hard to do it later.
3. Who are my reports? And who do I report?
While most parish employees don’t manage other paid employees, they will inherit a team of volunteers. You need to not only know what responsibilities you will carry, but who you will have to lead and ask to help you carry out the vision. Before you take the job, make sure you have chemistry with those people. If you don’t, you can still take the job, and you’ll have to work harder to build a team that will support you.
When it comes to who you see when there is a need, concern, or question, make sure that is crystal clear. There will be people on your staff who appear to have more authority than they do. They might not boss you around, but if you assume they have influence that they do not, it could put you (And Them) in a tricky situation.
Knowing who you report to and who reports to you will also make life a lot easier when you begin in the position. You’ll know who to rely on and where to go when you face an obstacle. When taking a job, make sure you clarify roles before you jump on board.
4. Do I have a budget, and how does it work?
You need to negotiate your salary, and you need to know what resources are at your disposal. Ask them about the budget and how much goes towards:
- Tangible Resources That Allow You To Do Your Job
- Professional Development To Help You Grow And Stay Relevant
- Gratitude And Training For Your Team
Don’t be afraid to ask them about sources of income and the parish’s philosophy on giving and fundraising You don’t want your ministry efforts limited because you don’t know what you can use to grow it.
If you are looking for a job, be thorough, and don’t be afraid to have standards and ask questions. No place is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise. Depending on where you live, there are other options; however, if nothing seems to fit, see it as God telling you to wait or focus in a new direction. Either way, if you trust Him, you’ll be blessed.
What are questions to ask before taking a job that you wished you had asked?
This article on questions to ask before taking a job originally appeared here.