Are you doing church staff bios wrong?

by | Jun 17, 2020

Imagine never having attended your church before. You live close by and drive by the church every day. One day, God (or something) nudges you to look deeper.

So, you grab your phone and look up the church’s website. The homepage speaks to you so you decide to check out who is leading the church. After all, Leadership matters.

You open the senior pastor’s bio page only to find a cold list of credentials and no current headshot. You’re not a Christian so the list of schools, degrees, and prior appointments mean almost nothing to you. Actually, why has this pastor worked at three churches in ten years anyway? Seems sketchy.

Of course, you know nothing about the United Methodist itinerate system and that this pastor was an associate pastor at two other churches before being appointed senior pastor of this church.

Even so, you’re starting to second guess the nudge to stop in for a visit.


Standard Staff Bio Pages

Most church websites have cold and stale staff bio pages. They’re simply a list of educational achievements and previous positions held.

They go something like this: “Steve is the senior pastor of Community Church. He graduated from Indiana University in 1987 with a degree in Economics. Shortly after, he received his call into ministry. He attended Duke Divinity School where he received a Master of Divinity. In 1992, Steve…”

You get the idea. And probably fell asleep.

Often, pastors view themselves as academics. In the academic world, degrees and experience matter. Of course, this isn’t the academic world. This is the relational world. A world that longs for empathy before it accepts authority.

So, how do you write a staff bio page that displays both empathy and authority while moving people to connect? Here are a few ideas.


1. Start with your ministry WHY.

Why did you enter ministry in the first place? Likely, when you felt called to go into the ministry it was because you saw a pain point in the world, in your community, or in your own network of friends and family. You saw a need to bring Jesus to these people to help them overcome their struggles through faith.

Be brief, but touch on your own personal WHY.

In our world today there is a general distrust of the Church and ministry leaders. People assume you’re just looking for butts in pews and overflowing offering plates.

Let them know why you are really there. Show your heart.


2. Connect your local setting.

After you have briefly established your original why, drill it down to the local setting. There is a good chance you have pastored in several different ministry contexts. Your why might not connect with each context in the same way.

Personalize it to your community so they know you are there for THEM, not just passing through on the way to another appointment.

Seriously, think about how it looks to outsiders when you’ve pastored 5 churches in 12 years. That may be normal in your appointment system, but in the business world, if you have 5 jobs in 12 years on your resume, I’m throwing your resume away.

Tell them why you feel called to this church, at this time, and how you plan to help them.


3. What does success look like?

Next, give people a vision of the future. When you look a few years down the road, how has the church, and the community, made progress by the work of God through your people?

How has your church made their lives better?

People want to know where you are taking them. Giving them a clear look at where you hope to lead them will help them know if that’s the place they want to be led.

Don’t be overly “Jesusy” here. Maintain the connection with Jesus but offer some tangible ways people can expect their lives to be improved through connection with your church.


4. Time for your stats.

Now that people know why you are here, that you care, and where you expect to lead them, they might want to be sure you have the authority to actually make it happen.

The bottom of your church staff bio can include all of the important, yet slightly boring, parts of your typical staff bio.

  • Education and Degrees
  • Previous Employment
  • Community involvement
  • Etc.


Empathy before authority

In general, with any organization, people want to know you feel their pain and understand them before they are willing to accept your solution to help them out of that pain.

Think of your staff bio like a bread recipe. Empathy is the flower in the recipe. You might have 7 cups of empathy in that recipe. As for salt, any more than a teaspoon or two and the recipe is ruined.

People just need to check the box in the back of the mind that you have the authority (appropriate experience and/or training) to guide them to where they want to go.

What they really want to know is you understand and empathize with where they are currently.

Here’s the reality. Your staff bio isn’t about you. It’s about the people you serve and how you fit into their life to guide them to a better existence.

Take a look at your church staff bios. Are they full of salt, or will they make a nice loaf of bread?

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