When a pastor (or any leader) considers a move to a new church setting or any leader considers a new job, he or she should do whatever is possible to define reality. As Max Dupree, leadership guru and writer said, “The first job of a leader is to define reality.”
When I’ve considered a new ministry change, I’ve sought answers to key questions. And over the years I’ve compiled this list of 27 questions (actually 30) to ask a search committee and/or your future boss. If you’re moving into a non-ministry setting, you’ll want to tailor your questions to your unique setting.
- Why me? What about me interested your committee?
- What stories of God’s moving do people still tell?
- What’s not going well that needs changing or needs to go?
- What are the burning issues?
- What are the biggest obstacles facing the church?
- What’s missing?
- What significant events, both successes and traumas, have marked your church’s history?
- How has your church responded to traumas and crises?
- How would your community describe the church?
- What do you most hope that I will do?
- What are you most concerned I might do?
- What are the major obstacles I will face?
- What ministries are struggling? Which ones are shining?
- What will be deemed a success under my leadership?
- How do you see the church in 1, 3, 5 years? What kind of growth do you expect?
- Describe how you see our working relationship?
- What should I focus on? What should be my priorities?
- How is the current staff moral?
- What is your expectation for my spouse?
- What were the previous pastor’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How was his or her relationship with the staff and board?
- What do you wish he had done differently?
- What problems seem to recur in your church?
- Does the church have any deep, dark secrets?
- Have any sins persisted in the staff or leadership?
- How would you describe the church’s tolerance for change?
- What has caused recent people to leave?
What questions would you add to this list?