How and Why I Say ‘No’ to Most Churches

How and why I say No to most churchesAs a consultant primarily working with religious organizations to improve organizational culture/structure, messaging, and events, I keep my resume information out publicly so folks looking for those abilities can easily find me. Usually it’s through Linked In or YouthSpecialties.

Every so often, though, someone will contact me about a full-time position in their church. And while a full-time church position is not quite what I am into these days, it still is not something I will turn down without checking it out. There is still a chance that the exact right church may come along with the exact right position. I want to carefully assess each opportunity.

With all the church experience I have combined with all the social sciences I have studied, I have a very keen sense of when a church culture would be bad for me, for my wife, and for my friendships I want to keep active. So for most churches I end up sending a response similar to this one:

Hi (we’ll just say Bob),

Thank you for your interest. It means a lot to me that you took the time to read all the way through my lengthy resume on YouthSpecialties.

I looked into your church, Main Street Made Up Church. It really looks like a nice group of people with some interesting stuff going on. Your church is clearly full of people who love exactly the way your church is, and that is awesome because it means lots of folks are getting to know Jesus. I love when Jesus and people collide. :)

I have to be honest, though, Bob: I don’t think I’m the kind of guy you’re looking for. I wear a hat and blue jeans (among other articles of clothing) to church. I hang out with salty people and regularly get together with my gay friends. I lead boldly and make no reservations about changing or ending programs that don’t work. Despite my love of Jesus, great organizational leadership, and passion for millennials, I know from experience that I am a huge target and generally unwelcome by traditional/largely-retired congregations.

Again, thank you for your interest. I’ll be sure to keep you in mind and refer to you anyone whom I think would be a great fit. And if you hear of any churches that you think would be a better fit for me, I would really love for you to do the same.

If you’re ever in the Atlanta area, I’d love to get together and compare notes on church strategy. Really. I’m serious. My contact information is below.

Thank you, Bob. I wish you and Main Street Made Up Church the best.


Saying no and knowing the reason has left me feeling so emotionally healthy. Sure, I haven’t landed at any full-time positions recently. But that’s totally cool because it has left me open to lots of really, really, ridiculously awesome, exciting opportunities.

What is keeping you from being healthy? From doing awesome things you dream about every day? Go do it today.   

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