Thursday, 26 June 2014

Deciphering a Minister's CV

It's a teaser, isn't it, trying to get the right woman or man for the right job? You've got to find your way through, not just what people say about themselves, but also the way they see themselves.

Those who recruit in business get a lot of practice in trying to second-guess the phrases in CVs for job applications. They know that "exhibited expertise in Agile methodology" really means "extended a four-month project to 2 years as we constantly changed our minds." They know that "a hands-on, people person" means they've threatened people with violence to get things done. And they know what "proactive", "good team member", "self-starter" and "synergy" collectively mean. Absolutely nothing.

But you've got the same problem when you're hiring a minister. And, unless you're at at a particularly fractious Baptist church, you only get to work these things out once every few years. You're matching your beautifully-accurate, honest Church Profile to the resumes of four candidates for archangel, wondering how on earth you can tell which is the best fit.  So here, to help you, are a few words and phrases to look out for.

What they sayWhat you should read
Involved in all aspects of church lifeControl freak
Successfully managed four restorations in different parishes.Frustrated with the mundanity of the pastoral cycle. I will immediately start poking holes in the limestone walls, to generate the excuse for another building project.
Creatively engaged in the musical worship of the churchThough I never want to have to fight another duel with an organist.
Passionate advocate of Church Growth theoryEgotist
LaudianOff to Rome shortly
Social Media evangelistAlways tired during the day.
Dedicated to the pastoral care of the congregationI'm scared of outsiders. Some of them don't believe in God. They're weird.
Enthusiast for Liturgical RenewalNail down anything removable.
Developing interest in rural ministryDecided to get out the city after boarding up the last remaining window.
Above all, interested in people and ideasI've a five-year backlog of admin now and it's gonna be easier and cleaner simply to get another job and leave it behind. Even so, it's gonna take 3 skips to clear the study.
Traditional Evangelical theology One week the sermon's on Romans 5, the next it's John 3:16. And repeat.
Familiar with a busy, multi-parish ministry6 points on my licence. And I weep a lot.
Experienced in children's workWas once a curate
Engaging actively in multi-faith encountersClear the vicarage garden, I'm bringing my own Henge
Dedicated to the priesthood of all believersI've got a little list. Got a little list...
Wanting to express the mystery at the heart of the faith Nobody has a clue what my sermons are about
Successfully met the Parish share requirements after three years in my previous postEncouraged everybody to worship with the Methodists every October.
Believer in the power of God's holy scripturesFewer readings, longer sermons
Exploring new ways of "being church"After my last Restoration project came in under budget, the roof fell in and we had to borrow the school.
Experience in rebuilding church corporate lifeAfter I'd upset everybody, they all left. But there was a visitor on Sunday so things are looking up!
A passion for engaging with the communityAlways in the pub
A prophetic, spontaneous preaching ministryToo lazy to prepare sermons
Keen to engage with young adultsMy wife has banned me from talking to other women
Frequent performances in amateur dramaticsMostly during PCC meetings.
Dedicated to missionI like to stand around the market in an anorak, with a loud-hailer
Led to move into full-time ordained ministry All the other accountants used to laugh at me because I couldn't add up.
A traditional view of family life and moralityMy wife has to walk two paces behind me.
I model an active, outgoing faithI haven't read a book since 1987.
Aware of the multi-cultural aspects of our societyI've got an MA in Political Correctness and I'm not afraid to use it to my own advantage.
Engaging the Gospel with modern cultureI've got the Creed down to just "I believe..." 


  1. You'll be on the diocesan appointments panel tomorrow, Eileen.

  2. Wow, I wondered where we were going wrong in vetting the CV's before the diocesan filter. Which may be why we've ended up with a manic depressive extrovert who blows hot and cold three times a minute.

    Holy Communion has become an endless round of tears followed by manic laughter during the creed as we go over the 'was cruficified etc bit and on the third day, rose again bit'.

    We've now replaced Evensong with the Sung Litany as it apparently suits the Parson's mood every Sunday evening after a traumatic day preaching on that most disagreeable book. He has a particular dislike of any reading from Paul or Leviticus but loves Acts. In fact, we've had acts for every Gospel for the past 3 months and we're now all word perfect with it.

    The other sign we should have noticed was that he turned up for the pre-interview tour wearing a strange white vest thing, with straps, wich seemed to hold his arms in a prayer position across his chest. We learned later that it was in fact a Straight Jacket, when his minder removed it with whoops of Joy after he was selected.

    Most of the time it's fine. Crying into your beer at the pub is expected, particularly if your horse came last. But we have had to get the Church Wardens to give him a stern talking too after he was seen at the pub last week in Drag. His colour coordination was completely wrong.


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