Looking for a new pastor is a tough dance for both a church and potential candidates. While it is a job, being a pastor is a very intense, personal occupation. Many churches and pastors put on their best behavior. But what may be needed is more candor. I have been thinking about this after a discussion with some other students at Union-PSCE.
Here’s a list of questions that I would consider asking if I was seeking a position at a church.
1.) Tell me a little bit about the history of the church.
2.) What is the distinctive flavor or character of the church today compard to others in the area?
3.) What are the circumstances that led to the church having this position that needs to be filled?
4.) What do you envision as the requirements for this position? Goals for the first two years? Expectations?
5.) How exactly do the spouses of the other pastors currently serve in the church? Expectations regarding the spouse’s involvement?
6.) How do you go about ensuring the emotional, spiritual and relational health of the church staff?
7.) What is the governance of the church? Who are the key decision makers?
8.) What is the leadership’s five year vision for the church? What about ministries that I would be responsible for overseeing?
9.) How do you see me fitting in with the long-term vision of the church?
10.) Please describe the community life of the city and surrounding area?
11.) Who directly would I report to and what level of access would I have to other key leaders?
12.) If you could wave a wand and change anything about this church, what would it be?
13.) What are the salary and benefit options available for this open position?
14.) Who are the major spiritual influences in the lives of the key pastors and church leaders? What books are some of the other pastors currently reading?
15.) What is the statement of faith and code of conduct that I would be expected to agree to as part of my employment?
16.) When was the last time that the church made a major change prompted by the Holy Spirit? What was that change?
17.) Describe the ministry of the predecessor. What worked? How could things have been better?
18.) How quickly are you looking to fill this position?
19.) How is the church being strategic about turning members into disciples of Jesus?
20.) Who are the existing champions and non-church staff involved with the ministries that I would be overseeing? Once you are far enough through the interview process, I would try to informally meet some of these people with the church’s permission and assistance.