Daily Archives: March 11, 2009

Help Wanted – Need Perfect Pastor!

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.

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Generational Disconnect

There’s a big hole in the middle of most churches and nobody seems to want to talk about it. Oh, there are a few who get it. But there are so many that refuse to face the future and the past. And if we don’t do something about it, we’ll all miss out on what could be something beautiful.

I am talking about the disconnect between generations. It seems like youth culture changes every year. Technology is driving a wedge between many parents and children. From the greatest generation to the baby boomers to gen-x to the millenials, each new demographic seems to be further from the other.  But the truth is that we need each other more and more.

Teenagers need godly adults who will demonstrate a dynamic faith, committed relationships and strong morals. Authorities need to live in such a way that those underneath them willingly submit to their leadership. At the same time, younger generations needs to realize that not everything worth knowing came about in the last few years. We  need to appreciate the legacy and lessons of those who have gone before us, and we need to learn that not everything is handed to us. Sometimes hard work and failure is the necessary path to success and accomplishment.

We could learn a lot from each other if we would only stop and consider what other generations have to offer. I have been thinking about this generational disconnect after reading an article in Harvard Business Review. The February issue featured a case study on generation-y in the workplace. I thought the article really nailed the core issues.

Older generations feel that younger workers don’t respect authority and are impatient. They see the younger generation as pampered needing quick praise and fast opportunities for advancement. Younger people feel like they are closer to culture and know what works today in terms of marketing and technology. They feel like the older leaders won’t listen to them. They are bored at work and feel like they have sold out their dreams for a paycheck and an opportunity sometime in the very distant future.

Obviously, the above is a gross generalization. But it happens to be true in many organizations, churches and businesses. The fact is that change is moving at such a pace now that young blood is needed to stay current. At the same time, younger people are not learning valuable skills at home that they can pickup from older people if the proper relationships can be fostered. This is hard for many business environments where competition can become a major concern. But it should be a non-issue in churches. Sadly, churches may be just as competitive as Wall Street.

Here’s my challenge to those who read this. Over the next month, connect with someone knew who is from a different generation than you. Be intentional about it. See what you can give, learn and experience. You’ll probably be glad you did.

Harvard Business Review article on generation-y.  http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org/2009/02/gen-y-in-the-workforce/ar/1

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle made some great points about the future church leaders. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJXpo0xfUnA