At some time or another we all have to interview for a job. Coming up with questions in the interview to ask about your potential job is nerve racking and doesn’t always get us the information we want. The next time you are beginning the process of looking for a new church job, take a look at these questions to help prepare you.
They are broken down in to a few categories to help you, but these are just suggestions of when to ask them.
Pre-Interview questions (over phone, emails, etc.)
1. Could I have a copy of the job description so I can review it before the interview?
2. Could I have some of your most recent worship bulletins, newsletters, business meeting minutes, and any other material you think would be helpful for me to have?
3. Is this a full time position?
One on One with Pastor Questions
1. How long have you been at this church? What are its greatest strengths and weaknesses as a congregation?
2. What are your plans for the next 5 years? Are you currently looking elsewhere or planning on staying?
3. When could I meet the other staff?
4. How does the staff plan worship?
5. How often would I be encouraged to preach?
6. Why is this position vacant, and could I speak to the person who last filled it?
7. What is an example of a major conflict that occurred in the church, and how was it resolved?
Formal/Committee interview questions
Evaluating the ministry questions:
1. Is the consensus of the committee and the church that they need to build on a good program, or overhaul something that’s broken?
2. How would you describe the volunteers working in my area?
3. What has been the greatest strength in the youth department?
4. What has been the greatest obstacle?
5. What is used to measure success in youth ministry here?
6. What is the role of youth ministry here?
7. What do you see as the future goals of the youth ministry?
8. How will you and the church invest in the lives of students and their families?
Youth Ministry Program Questions
1. What are the 2 biggest events for youth ministry here?
2. How is the ministry currently ministering to the parents/guardians?
3. Do you encourage youth to sit together or with family? And why?
4. Why types of events do you expect, and what purpose do they serve for the youth ministry?
5. Are most families able to afford the various youth events (camp, retreats)? If not how are they provided for?
1. How will the church invest in my development as a vocational minister?
2. What are the expectations for office hours and time invested?
3. How much vacation time is offered with this position?
4. What are vacation policies/benefits like for full time called staff? Is there a difference in pastors package/other called staff members?
5. What is the annual salary?
6. How has the church handled raises in the last few years? Are they based on performance, annual, non-exsistant, etc.?
7. How much time to attend conferences? Does that count as vacation and who pays for that?
8. Does the church’s policy cover sabbaticals?
9. What is the maternity/paternity policy for this position?
10. What in the past has been the tradition for a youth minster to make up the “days off” lost doing camp, retreats, etc?
11. What are the expectations the church has for my spouse/children?
12. What is your time frame for moving our conversations along? Are there other candidates who are being considered? When should I expect to hear from you after our meeting?
1. Who will be doing the qualitative analysis of the ministry itself?
2. How often will this analysis happen? Will I get an annual review? Done by whom?
3. Will I have an opportunity to be mentored by a specific staff member/pastor/assoc. pastor of my choosing?
4. Who will be my direct supervisor? What leadership style do you see in them? Team, hierarchical?
5. What are some qualitative/concrete parameters that will be used in judging the validity/quality of the ministry in a given time frame?
a. Group size?
b. Number of program opportunities?
c. Number of commitments to x?
d. Spiritual growth of the overall group/individuals within the group?
e. % of active participants vs youth on role?
1. How can I expect to be involved as a staff member in worship? Will I have the opportunity to preach? Worship leadership? How often?
2. If someone preceded me, why did she or he leave and was it on good terms?
3. How does the church staff function?
4. Who does the staff answer to?
5. Would you describe the staff members as friends, co-workers, or something else?
1. What is an example of a major conflict that occurred in the church, and how was it resolved?
2. How would you describe the church’s connection to CBF (or another denomination)
3. How would you describe the church’s support of women in ministry?
4. How would you describe the church’s view on homosexuality?
5. How would the church react if “outsider” kids started coming? Kids who are a little rowdier or need some extra love.
6. What is the church willing to change or lose in order to gain new families?
7. What are the future goals of the church?
8. How often are youth encouraged to participate or lead worship?
9. How is the church viewed within this community? Are you cooperative with other local bodies? Are you open to join mission/worship experiences with them?