This is a sample of the questions that should be asked by a ministry candidate before he commits to accept the pastorate of a church. He needs to know as much about the church as the church knows about him if it is to be a “match.”
Thank you for inviting me to submit a resume to be considered for the position of senior pastor at your church. I am honored to be considered by you. As you well know, not every church and pastor are legitimate matches. Therefore, in order to help us get properly acquainted, I would appreciate the pulpit or pastoral search committee’s help by completing and returning to me the following information. This will help us both in ascertaining our compatibility. Please answer all questions as thoroughly as possible and with total frankness. Some of the questions can be answered in the space provided, but some may require extra space or paper.
1. Please describe any associations the church might have or keep with other churches or para-church organizations (i.e. fellowships, colleges, mission boards, camps, etc).
2. What event has shaped your church most in the last ten years?
3. How would you estimate the potential for reaching the unchurched in your community and surrounding area in the future?
4. What is the seating capacity’ of your auditorium?
5. When was the last time your church completed a building project?
6. How fast did the church pay off that debt? What is the total amount of the church’s present indebtedness?
7. What is the church’s average weekly income? How does that compare with a year ago?
8. What percentage of your church families would you estimate tithe their income to the Lord through the church?
9. What percentage of your church members would you estimate spend time daily (or at least very
consistently) in personal Bible reading (and/or study) and prayer?
10. Does the church have organized times of fellowship (for those in the church)?
11. Do the members get together for fellowship amongst themselves on their own?
12. What is the percentage make-up of your Sunday morning attendance?
13. What is the numerical make-up of your membership?
14. What are the attendance patterns at meetings other than morning worship?
15. What is the pastoral history of your church? Who were the pastors during the last 15-20 years? What single sentence would you give typifying the ministry of each, and reason for their leaving?
16. Where does your church stand on the charismatic movement?
17. Where does your church stand on the tongues issue?
18. Where does the church stand on the issue of Calvinism?
19. Does your church have a particular stand/position regarding the King James Version of the Bible? If so, please describe.
20. Does your church have a particular stand/position regarding the various modern versions of the Bible?
21. How would you typify the worship style of your congregation? (Check ALL that apply.)
22. What type of music is used in the church services and ministries (i.e. traditional, hymns, contemporary, southern gospel, etc)?
a. Congregational singing:
c. Special music:
d. Youth ministries:
e. Children’s ministries:
23. Does the church have a written (or otherwise understood) policy regarding the type/style of music to be sung, played, etc?
24. What hymnal(s) does the church use?
25. What might be some touchy issues with people in the church… divorce, alcohol, tobacco, materialism, clothing, music, or others?
26. What kind of programs beyond worship for all ages does your church presently have in place?
27. Does the church have a strong missions’ effort?
28. Does the church employ a/the “Faith Promise” approach to supporting missionaries?
29. Describe how your pastoral selection process’ works. Will you interview only one person at a time, taking that person all the way to a vote for acceptance or rejection before initiating another interview? Or, will you interview a variety of candidates, hearing several before you decide which one to recommend? Do you plan on a “trial sermon”? Are you thinking of multiple interviews? Please describe your process:
30. What style of leadership typifies the desire of your church? (Place an x on one of the following.) Board leads ____ Pastor leads ____
31. How many people are involved regularly in visitation or outreach? ______
32. In the past twelve months…
How many have been baptized into the church? ______
How many have been added via statement or letter? ______
33. In the previous twelve months…
How many were baptized into the church? ______
How many were added via statement or letter? _______
34. How would you typify the way your church treats visitors?
35. How does the church follow up with those who visit?
36. Is the church organized as a not-for-profit corporation, or some other way (for tax purposes, such as “501.c.3”)? Is the church officially chartered with your state? Does the church have an official Statement of Faith, and Constitution and Bylaws?
II. CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
1. Describe your community in a short paragraph (population, prominent employers, general atmosphere and attitude, etc).
2. The church may do all of the following things, but all of them cannot take priority. What is your ranking of the following seven emphases in priority order (#1 highest, #2 next, etc.):
3. Finish this sentence: “Our church is best known in this community for _______________.”
4. What do you believe to be the most pressing need in your community right now?
5. Describe the largest church in your community or surrounding area. What is it like and how are you different and/or similar?
6. Over the last five years or so, when people have left your church, what did they say was the reason?
7. What do you think were the primary reasons?
8. What are the five biggest changes you would like to see happen in your church?
9. How and when was your church started? By whom?
10. Who do you feel has been your most ideal pastor’? Why?
III. PASTORAL AND LEADERSHIP
1. What do you believe are the most important priorities for your new pastor (#1 most important, #2 next most important, etc.)?
____Time with family
____Preparation for preaching
____ Community work / outreach
2. What are your weekly time expectations for your new pastor? (i.e. How many hours would you expect your pastor to spend each week in each of the following activities?)
____Time with family
____Preparation for Preaching
____Community work / outreach
3. What provisions do you make for the pastor’s personal and professional growth (e.g. continuing education, seminars, etc)?
4. How would you typify the prayer support for your present (or most recent) pastor?
5. Is the church prepared to support the pastor and his family financially? Would the church’s support provide for related matters of pension, health care, life insurance etc?
6. What are the arrangements you make for a parsonage or housing allowance?
7. What is the make-up of your present staff, if you have such? If not, do you plan for staff?
8. Some church “boards” (deacons, church vote, etc) expect to play an exceptionally strong role in the selection of assistant ministers and other staff. Others expect the senior pastor to “hire the staff.” How do you believe staff should be added to the church?
9. Please describe the present decision-making “process” of church leadership on business matters and other issues. What role does the pastor specifically have, the deacons, church vote, etc?
10. What role does the church believe the pastor’s wife should have in the ministry?
11. What role does the church believe the pastor’s children should have in the ministry?
12. Over the past fifteen years which pastor’s spouse do you believe has functioned in a most ideal way? Why?
Please provide the following references for me (names and telephone numbers).
1. Your current or most recent pastor:
2. Immediately preceeding pastor:
3. Prior pastor:
4. Community person (someone familiar with your church, though not an attender):
5. A missionary, evangelist, or other church pastor who knows your church well (but is NOT a member of it):
6. Recent special speaker who visited your church:
7. Please give the name(s) of each person responsible for answering these questions (in any capacity) and how long each has been a member of the church.
1. To the best of your knowledge, have there ever been any lawsuits brought against the church? If so please explain.
2. To the best of your knowledge, have there ever been any accusations of abuse or impropriety of any kind brought against the church, or any pastors/leaders/workers, etc. involved with the church? If so, please explain.
3. Is there anything that was not asked here, but you feel should have been asked? If so, what would that be?
4. Is there anything (not covered in these questions) that you feel I should know about the church?
5. If the church has an official Statement of Faith, and Constitution and Bylaws, please send a copy with this returned questionnaire. (If already sent to me, please disregard this request.)
Thank you for completing and submitting this information. Everything will be given prayerful and careful consideration before our meeting on____________________________.