Before a new pastor is ever invited to a church, an interview and visit usually take place. Often spread over one or two days, these interviews may not provide the opportunity to get to know a minister beyond a surface level. What kinds of questions should you ask before and during a pastoral candidate's visit to help you dig deeper?
- What are our core beliefs and values as a church? This should always be the first question a church asks itself when searching for a pastor. You can't decide whether a potential pastor is going in the direction your church needs to go if you don't know where you are in the first place.
- Why are you attracted to our church? The answer to this question will provide you with an outsider's view of what is good about your church, and may also offer a glimpse of the candidate's priorities and values in ministry.
- What accomplishments are you most pleased with in your ministry and what areas need improvement? Ultimately, you need to know what strengths and weaknesses a pastor has. This will help you know where she will shine in ministry and where she may need extra support and assistance.
- What do you do to relax? What a pastor does to relax tells you something about his personal hobbies and interests as well as revealing whether he has learned to combat burnout by resting when needed.
- Do you have any questions for us? A potential pastor is interviewing a congregation just as surely as the congregation is interviewing her, although you might not hear her ask many questions unless the opportunity is given. The questions a candidate asks communicate what is important to her.
Amy Schlepp enjoys being active in her local congregation and lives in Blue Springs, Missouri, with her husband and four children.
Holiness Today, March/April 2006.