Career Placement Handbooks

Finding Open Positions


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In this section we explore the best resources available to you for finding an ordained ministry position. This search presupposes that your heart and spiritual life are attuned to God’s will. For that, a note about prayer is warranted.

Prayer

The best way to begin any endeavor, especially one with major repercussions, is prayer. Prayer helps to ensure that your hunt for ordained ministry is oriented toward Christ and away from self. Ask for the Lord’s guidance and for assurance that you are pursuing the right field and that an open position is suited for you, your family, and those seeking a shepherd. Maintaining a prayerful, Christian attitude in such a turbulent process is not always easy, but it helps to keep your focus on the Lord and to remember why you are seeking ordained ministry in the first place.

Networking

Aside from the spiritual component of job hunting, networking is the single most important professional step you will take in your job search. In fact, many (if not most) jobs are never even posted because they are filled, instead, through networking.  In this case, it definitely pays to know someone. 

Westminster Theological Seminary

If you are just beginning your time at Westminster, keep in mind that every person you meet may be a potential contact for future employment. Foster relationships with students and professors. Remember that fellowship in the Lord’s family is not just meant to be recreational; God uses fellow Christians for his purposes and he may well use a brother or sister to help you acquire a ministry position.

If you are nearing the end of your time at Westminster but spent every waking second tucked away in an isolated corner of the library, you may have difficulty tapping into a network of people who will keep their ears open for an ordained position suited to you. However, do not despair; it is never too late to reach out to others and to help those who reach out to you.  


Other Places for Networking

Presbytery: It is important to get involved in your local presbytery. Not only will you make valuable contacts with the denomination in which you hope to be an ordained member, you will also gain professional insight into the workings of the church and how to avoid problems and issues faced by churches in your denomination.

Mentored Ministry: Mentored Ministry does more than give you useful and relevant ministry experience; it provides you with valuable exposure to mentors who will see your work firsthand and be able to give you advice and tips on finding ordained ministry. Perhaps you can even acquire a position with the church where you were mentored. At the very least, your mentor should be able to point you in the direction of people to contact regarding ordained ministry.  

Home Church: If you have been involved in your hometown church, there may be valuable contacts for you there. Your pastor, elders, deacons and church members may know of open positions within your denomination. They may also be able to spread the word about your job hunt and be willing to provide references for you.

Internships: If you held an internship during college or at Westminster, make sure that the place where you interned is aware of your job hunt as well. They may be interested in hiring you in an ordained capacity. If you worked for a Christian organization, they may have information on churches looking for ministers within your denomination. You never know where you will find your next lead.

Conferences/Professional Meetings:

Conferences and professional meetings are a great way not only to increase your professional knowledge but also to meet people with common interests and affiliations. This is especially true of conferences for ministers. Within this section we highlight the conferences most helpful in pursuing your desire to become a minister.

Westminster Conferences: Westminster has several conferences throughout the year that may be useful for building a contact list, particularly within the PCA and OPC denominations. Of special interest is the preaching conference. Make sure that you check the Westminster website to stay informed about conferences held at Westminster.

Presbytery: Going to presbytery meetings regularly will help you form contacts within your target denomination, as well as gain insight into how particular church and ministry situations are handled. Knowing the right people within your denomination will be beneficial for finding the right ordained position.

Other Seminaries: Another possible option to look into is conferences at other seminaries, particularly Reformed seminaries. You may be able to make valuable contacts that would not otherwise have been available.

Denominational Conferences: Many denominations hold conferences throughout the year with a specific theme or ministry topic. Make sure to stay informed about your particular denomination’s conferences for the year.

Non-Denominational Conferences: Many non-denominational conferences are held during the year. These provide excellent opportunities to learn more about different aspects of ministry and to extend your networking efforts. Organizations that hold annual conferences include: Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF), the Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel (T4G), and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (particularly, the annual Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology). Make sure to stay abreast of when these and other conferences are held so that you don’t miss a valuable opportunity to network.

Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature: Though these two conferences are not specifically geared toward ministry, you may come in contact with individuals who belong to your denomination or share a common interest with you.

Westminster Placement

Westminster has its own resources available for your ordained ministry hunt. Check out the website for employers specifically seeking Westminster students. Also make sure that you talk to key individuals on campus who can provide you with more insights and information about your search.

Placement Website

Visit Westminster's employment opportunities page.

Key Personnel

Additional Places to Look

Denominational Websites 

Another excellent place to find vacant ordained positions is at the website of the denomination in which you are seeking ordained ministry.

Orthodox Presbyterian Church - You may contact their administrative offices by calling (215) 830-0900.

Presbyterian Church in America

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Christian Reformed Church

Presbyterian Church USA

Non-Reformed Denominations:  A good place to find open positions outside of Reformed circles are on each denomination’s website. If this information is not located online, use the contact information provided on its webpage to find someone who can direct your search.

Ministry Websites

Another place to find ordained ministry positions is the Internet. It can be hard to differentiate a legitimate posting from a scam, even on Christian sites (since many sites do not review the content of posts). If you find a promising lead using one of these websites, do not give out any personal information until you are sure that the offer is legitimate. Check to see if the same ad has been posted multiple times over a short span of time; this is generally an indication of a scam. Never pay these services. If a website asks you to pay in order to access postings, walk away.

Despite a fairly large number of misleading posts, some ordained positions posted online are legitimate.  The following sites may provide you with good leads for finding open positions.  However, Westminster has not tested the veracity of posts on these sites, so make sure you proceed with caution.

Ministry List.com

Church Jobs.net

Christian Jobs.com

Church Staffing.com

Christia Net.com

Christian Career Center.com

Ministry Jobs.com

Professional Chaplains.org

Youth Pastor.com

Other Seminaries: Check out the websites of other seminaries, particularly of those in the geographical area in which you are planning to live. Often these seminaries will have job placement services and postings of their own and you may be able to find leads using them.

Direct Contact: If there is a particular church where you’d like to work, it may be worthwhile to inquire about open positions directly. You may be able to do summer internships at that church during your time in seminary so that upon graduation you are more likely to be hired there. While there is, of course, no guarantee that you directly contacting a church will work, this may be a viable option for your particular search.

A Note on Sovereignty: The process of searching for ordained ministry can be long and slow. A church may receive dozens of applications for one vacancy. Having a deadline in mind for finding an ordained position can cause frustration and discouragement. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, remember to wait for the Lord’s timing. He has chosen a place just for you, and he will see you through the highs and lows of finding it. 

 

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.

Proverbs 16:3


Handbook Sections:

1. Introduction
2. Calling
3. Ordination
4. Finding Open Positions
5. Applying for Positions
6. Candidating