Career Path Options for a Religious Activities Director

The average value of the Bachelor degree needed to become a Directors, religious activities and education is $470,499.00.

Points of Interest

Those who choose Directors, religious activities and education careers are responsible for the coordination and direction of many activities of a religious or denominational group, and to meet the religious need of the same. They may work in private church school programs that meet State and Federal regulations for education for children from kindergarten through high school.

The private Christian or other religious school is designed to promote the religion and spiritual education and training of the students in coordination with the church or religion that is associated with the school. This professional designation includes Clergy such as Preachers, Priests and Pastors who work, teach and preach in churches of all types and kinds of denominations and religions. These individuals may also work as Chaplains in prisons or the armed forces.

Nature of the Work

Those who choose Directors, religious activities and education careers normally direct, plan and coordinate education among church members or church school programs that are designed to promote their particular religious beliefs. They provide guidance and counseling of a spiritual and social nature relating to religious problems, financial, health, family or marital problems. Duties vary within the broad spectrum of religious direction and education depending on whether the individual is designated as the senior pastor or priest of a church, is an assistant pastor, or administers the Sunday school education within the church, or works as a teacher or principal in a private religious church school, in compliance with State and Federal educational regulations.

For all jobs within Directors, religious activities and education careers, any and all duties may mix and match to include most, if not all, of the following: Determining the spiritual and social needs of the congregation, group or school and its members and develop programs, courses or studies to ensure the participants understand the beliefs and the mission of the religious organization. Identify, recruit and train volunteers to work within the church structure and develop a program for designating duties fairly and efficiently. Schedule and attend regular meetings with the board of directors to discuss internal affairs and direction of the church or organization. Plan and schedule special events such as retreats, seminars, meetings, conferences and camps for all ages. Announce and publicize upcoming events through direct mailing, newsletters and word of mouth.

directors religious activities

Confer with congregation leaders to rally support for and participation in activities and events. Establish a presence in the community by participating in community events, inviting the community to special services or activities, contributing to community programs, and encouraging congregation members to volunteer at places such as food banks, participate in toy drives for needy children at Christmas, or fundraisers for victims of fires, floods or other disasters. Participate in activities such as promoting interfaith understanding and awareness in meetings or conferences. Invite clergy of other faiths to discuss interpretation of religious convictions and ideas. Meet with local law enforcement and firefighters to offer support and discuss ways to cooperate among the organizations. Schedule speakers to meet and speak with the congregation. Individuals in Directors, religious activities and education Careers need certain kinds of knowledge to perform their jobs effectively such as knowledge of therapy and counseling: Methods and principles are necessary for rehabilitation of mental, physical and personality dysfunctions, and for guidance and counseling in all areas of everyday life.

Knowledge of the psychology of human behavior, psychological research methods, motivation, learning, individual differences in personality, ability and interests, and the assessment of affective and behavioral disorders. Knowledge of religious and philosophical systems, including their way of thinking, practices, customs, ethics, values and impact on the culture. Knowledge of society’s influences and trends, human ethnicity, migrations, group dynamics and behavior, and human history and origins. Knowledge of the English language, its content, structure, rules of composition, grammar and the spelling and meaning of words. Ability to communicate effectively in person and by writing is vitally important in the field of religious activities, directors and education.

Those in the field of Directors, religious activities and education Careers, while not counselors, per se, will nevertheless be expected to counsel congregational members, in the case of a pastor, priest, rabbi or other religious leader, in the following areas: Counseling of married couples and families: Helping families with the focus on identifying problems, promoting understanding and communication among family members and between husband and wives. A clergyperson may help to identify the need for help such as medical or psychiatric treatment and recommend the family or couple contact a medical professional.

Counseling of people with drug, alcohol, gambling and related problems: Clergypersons are involved in helping individuals identify behaviors and disorders that perpetrate their addictions. This type of counseling is more along the lines of listening to the person and supporting individuals and families with prayer, understanding and spiritual support. However, they should make no attempt to take the place in a person’s life of a psychologist or psychiatrist, but rather provide an additional avenue of help for individuals and families in their congregation. Counseling of elementary to postsecondary school students on educational choices would be included in the field of Directors, religious activities and education Careers, only if the individual worked as a certified and licensed school teacher, director or principal in a private or church-run school.

Although pastors, priests and rabbis would talk with children of all ages within the congregation concerning education, their counsel would most likely be to continue and complete their education. They would not necessarily perform the role of guidance counselor such as are employed by public or private schools. Overall, the nature of the work involves constant contact with others, either individuals or groups, in private confidential sessions or public meetings. The person who pursues work in this field should have a caring attitude and a real desire to help people of all ages, faiths, nationalities and personalities. Maintaining confidentiality is of utmost importance, as many people confide intensely personal behaviors, thoughts and feelings to their clergyperson. It would no doubt be seen as the utmost betrayal if the clergyperson passed on private information to another person without permission, unless the congregant is threatening to hurt himself or others.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

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Education for clergypersons largely depends on the denomination in which the person will work and the particular church who hires, or “calls” the individual to oversee the congregation. The requirements range from a high school diploma in small independent denominations, to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in larger, more formal churches or organizations. The more education acquired, however, the more the individual and the congregation will benefit. Some denominations have their own training or Bible school requirements in addition to formal secular education.

Advancement in a particular denomination would depend on a combination of years of experience, reputation and education completed. When an individual has completed education or statement of faith requirements, an ordination service is held to receive the blessings of elders and denominational leaders, and the person is then a clergyperson, or ordained minister of the Gospel. Holding at least a bachelor’s degree in social services, social welfare, sociology, psychology, or bachelor’s of arts, with an emphasis on religion, offers several options for your career choice and future. Possibilities exists in secular careers, non-profit careers, and religious vocations.

Developments in religion around the world and at home have made it more important than ever before for professionals in all field and areas, to have sensitivity to, and at least a working knowledge of various religions, how they impact nearly everyone’s life, and how they interact with each other. Therefore, the student who studies religion will have vital knowledge to help in any career, even in the business marketplace if he or she is not involved in religious direction as such.

Skills in understanding the part religion plays in everyday life in other countries, especially, will have continuing value to an employer as markets expand into other parts of the world. These skills should be emphasized when applying for an entry-level position or advancement. Aside from formal degrees, training can include the following: Bible Studies: Programs that focus on the Christian and/or the Jewish Bible, or Torah, and related books, writings by denomination leaders, and literature, with emphasis on interpreting ethical, doctrinal and theological messages in the sacred books.

Missionary studies: Programs that focus on social service and religious outreach, offering information on the beliefs of the religion or denomination to people of other countries or cultures. Preparation for mission vocations including training in preaching, evangelism, morals and healthy living. Religious Education: Programs that focus on providing education services to congregation members, such as Sunday school superintendent or Director of Education for Sunday services.

This is not to be confused with a teaching certificate to teach in a private church-run K-12 grade school. In a smaller church, the position would be volunteer. Paid positions usually only exist in large churches or organizations. Youth Ministry: Programs that provide training in counseling, spiritual and guidance to young adults, adolescents and children. These studies are additional studies for ordained clergy and other professionals in religion, to specialize in working with young people.

Employment

Earning the required education opens careers options in the following positions: Religious Vocations: Ordained Clergy – These positions may require seminary or Bible school training in addition to secular education. Job Title: Priest, Minister, Pastor, Rabbi, Chaplain Non-Ordained Clergy – These positions are usually filled at the discretion of individual churches and may not require a secular or seminary degree. Job Title: Pastor, Preacher, Director, Administrator Lay Pastor or Vocational Director – Certification may be required in graduate school training, seminary or Bible College courses.

Job Title: Education Director, Deacon, Missionary, Children and Youth Pastor, Lay Leader, Music Director, Administrator, Senior Citizen Advocate, or other specialization. Minister of Music – Music education may be required, especially in large churches. No formal education may be required in smaller organizations or churches, but would require experience, musical talent and ability to direct singers and musicians.. Job Title: Musician, Choir Director, Music Minister, Cantor, Music Administrator Careers in Non-Profit Organizations: Religion or Faith-Based non-profits – May require a bachelor degree, especially for advancement.

Positions vary with the focus of the organization, such as family or pregnancy counseling, pro-life, youth or homeless outreach. Religious Counselor – Requires a graduate degree in either Psychology or Social Work Inter-Cultural or Inter-Faith Non-Profit Organization – Requires at least a Bachelor’s degree. Secular Careers with Religious or Interfaith Background: Media – Religious publishing, television and newspaper media, film and video productions for religious organizations, journalists, magazines with religious columns, or entire magazine devoted to religion, or website creation and management for religious organizations or large churches. May require a degree in journalism, or experience and minimal education with religious studies.

Health Care – Positions as Chaplain in hospitals, nursing homes, or as resource liaison in mental health organizations. Human Rights Organizations – Requires whatever education the organization needs, whether religious or social service oriented. These organizations tend to hire people with experience working with a diverse population who display tolerance and flexibility. Education – A teaching position required a teaching certificate. Private religion-based schools, however, will often hire people as teacher’s assistants–no teaching certificate needed–or in non-managerial office administration.

Job Outlook

Check with the following organizations for job openings: Faith-Based: United Methodist Committee on Relief, World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Quaker Peace Network, Mennonite Central Committee, Church world Service, Catholic Relief Services, American Jewish World Service. Women’s Organizations: Human Rights Watch – Women’s Rights division, Global Alliance again Traffic in Women, Women’s Environmental and Development Organization–WEDO–Center for Global Women’s Leadership, International Women‘s Democracy Center.

Worldwide Human Rights: Transparency International, Freedom House, Amnesty International. USAID–United States Agency for International Development–has positions around the world in air and relief efforts, democracy, government and development. Peace Corp sends volunteers to 138 countries all over the world, and is increasing that number. Work involves community development, technology, HIV prevention, and education.

Wages

Wages in faith-based organizations, churches, and non-profit organizations vary according to the size of the congregation, church, or organization, but normally follow the private sector for comparable work.

A clergyperson in a small church, for instance, may expect to earn approximately $35,000 to $50,000 yearly, and this salary often includes housing. In larger churches the yearly salary may be closer to $75,000. Organizations and government agencies pay according to similar private sector wages or union contracts or agreements. Salary offers would be part of the discussion in an interview for employment.

Additional Information

Over 4400 jobs are listed online in addition to 10,639 volunteer opportunities. Volunteering for at least a year is a good addition on a resume and will help to interest employers in offering a position. There are over 1200 internships listed as well. Search for jobs using the type of organization you prefer, such as faith-based, women’s help, etc., and preferred country or location. Visit the website: www.idealist.org. The key to finding work in the non-profit sector is experience.

An internship is a great way to get the needed experience that employers seek. Most organizations offer internships during the summer or even during the academic year. Internships offer great hands-on training that is attractive to prospective employers. Many local government agencies also offer internships. Check the websites of organizations and agencies in which you are most interested.

Any volunteer work you can do or experience you can show on an application for employment will help you to get a position in the field or profession for which you are studying and training.

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