Working as an outreach pastor: Jacob's story

Meet Jacob. He's 20 and lives in Buckingham. He works as an outreach pastor. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Jacob in church, smiling to camera.
"It is OK to have doubts or to struggle – it’s normal."

What does your job involve?

My job is all about getting our church better connected with the local community. Our church runs a lot of different events and community work. My job primarily revolves around creating graphics, advertising, making posters and flyers, and doing all the social media management for these events. For example, we host a community lunch each week to feed the elderly, lonely and homeless. We also have an 'SOS room' where we can temporarily house homeless people and help them get rehabilitated. I also regularly preach sermons at the front of church.

Is this what you always wanted to do?

I used to want to be an author. I think there was also a stage where I wanted to be an astronaut! I never expected to work for the church. I found my faith when I was 18 and it changed my life.

I was working in marketing in Thailand when I was invited along to church for the first time. When I got there, I fell in love with the community – that's when I decided to work for the church.

When I got back to the UK, I asked for a job at my local church and they gave me work doing social media management, digital marketing, graphic and web design. This slowly moved on to me doing more spiritual jobs.

What was your educational pathway?

I took the compulsory subjects at GCSE and chose IT and Art as my options. I had some ups and downs at school, and some issues with my behaviour, so I ended up not doing as many of my GCSEs as I would have liked. I regret it now, but I got back on top of things.

I did three A-levels but, again, I had some issues and I didn’t get the grades I was hoping for. From there I went to university. I did a one year course in Marketing but ended up switching and working in the church. Now I’m going back to study at university in Oxford, while I continue to work for the church.

Jacob reading the bible.
"I found my faith when I was 18 and it changed my life."

What skills do you use in your job?

I use skills like communication, public speaking and teamwork. I also use time management skills as making sure that I finish my talks on time, and turning up to meetings promptly is important too.

Top tips

  • Facing lots of ups and downs can be a positive thing. I've learnt from those experiences, learnt how to take responsibility and I’m a richer person now for it

  • It is OK to have doubts or to struggle – it’s normal

  • Persevere. Stay true to what you enjoy doing and, if you want to make changes, keep an open mind and think really carefully. Make sure you dedicate yourself to whatever it is that you want to do.

What to expect if you want to work in this area

A similar role to Jacob's is community development worker. Community development workers help people to improve the quality of life in their local area. Whilst Jacob's work focuses around his church's relationship with their local area, community development workers can work on across a wide variety of projects.

Community development worker salary: from £16,000 to £36,000 per year

Community development worker working hours: 37 to 39 hours per week

Typical entry requirements: You can get this job through a university course, a college course or volunteering. At university, you could start by taking a foundation degree or degree in Community Development, Community Studies, Youth Work or Social Sciences. Most courses include work placements to help you build up your experience. You'll usually need at least one A-level (or equivalent) for a foundation degree and at least two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You could take a college course, which may be useful when applying for a trainee development worker job. Courses include Level 2 and 3 Certificate in Community Development and Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Social and Community Work. Entry requirements for these courses vary. A common way into this job is to volunteer for local projects. You can find local opportunities through Do-it and My Community.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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