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Did I Say That?

From time to time, I am asked to review a person’s resume that is hoping to be considered by a Pastor Search Team of a church.  Their desire is, obviously, to make a great first impression and not say anything that could backfire.  In most cases, the resume is well stated, succinct, good form, and easy to read at a glance to gain a basic understanding of a minister’s experience.

However, there have been those occasions when the phrasing could be improved or a statement could have more than one meaning because of the word choice, syntax, or inference. If the alternate meaning leads to a negative impression, then it needs to be reworded.  In those cases, I offer a suggestion to re-visit that portion of the resume to consider making changes.  If the person does not see a problem, then I share with that person what came to my mind when I read that particular statement.  Once they hear my understanding and the contrast with their intended meaning, the rationale for making a correction is instantaneously clear.

Recently, I was searching for an illustration in an old file and came across this one on a different topic.  This illustration was printed in a publication that targets ministers.  It is a great illustration of what “not to do” when writing a resume whether a minister or not……

In Leadership magazine, Dave Wilkinson writes the following to pastors…

Have you ever wondered why your pastoral resume doesn’t evoke more enthusiasm?  Do you ever think, “What are these people looking for?” 

Perhaps the question should be, “What aren’t they looking for?” because with the numbers of applications pastor search committees receive, their first task is to eliminate applicants. 

Here, then, as a public service, are statements certain to stop a resume dead in its tracks.  

* “I believe empathy is overrated.”
* “In the five churches I have faithfully served over the past two years …”
* “My hobbies are pit bulls and automatic weapons.”
* “I am willing to sacrifice my family for the sake of the ministry. I am also willing to sacrifice

* “I have learned to cope with financial crisis at every church I’ve served.”
* “I require an attractive secretary and/or organist.”
* “My extensive counseling of church members has proved a rich source of pointed sermon 
* “Amway taught me everything I know about evangelism.”
* “I’ve been told that every sermon I preach is better than the next.”
* “My personality has provided me ample opportunity to develop conflict-resolution skills.”

[Resume Stoppers, Citation: Dave Wilkinson, Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 1.]

Whatever your field or your occasion to tell someone your story, be sure you think before you speak and edit carefully what you write.   If you are not highly cautious and thorough, you may well say or write something you will long regret.  Proverbs 13:3The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.  Proverbs 21:23He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.