Friday, January 1, 2010

Questions for a Prospective Church

Please prayerfully consider the following questions.  Please solicit input on the answers from many members of the church, including members of the pastoral search committee. If these questions are useful to you, you may wish to forward this same information to other pastors/staff you are interviewing.

A. CHURCH

1. What event has shaped your church most in the last ten years?
2. How would you estimate the potential for reaching the unchurched there in the future?
3. Describe the facilities of your church, including location, usability, age and other similar factors.
4. Who maintains the facilities of your church?
5. Is your church in debt? How fast do you expect to pay off that debt? What is the total amount of your present indebtedness? What is your church’s philosophy on debt?
6. What percentage of your church families would you estimate regularly tithe their income locally?
7. What percentage of your church leadership would you estimate regularly tithes their income locally?
8. During the last 20 years, has your church experienced any splits or major schisms? If so, what has been done to resolve the hostilities and bring reconciliation between the parties who disagreed?

9. What is the percentage make-up of your Sunday morning attendance? (May be more than 100%)
_____Children
_____Parents living w/ Children
_____Married Adults
_____Youth
_____Single Adults
_____Seniors
_____College Aged
_____Middle-Aged
_____Other_________
10. What is the make-up of your membership? (May be more than 100%)

_____Children
_____Parents living w/Children
_____Married Adults
_____Youth
_____Single Adults
_____Seniors
_____College Aged
_____Middle-Aged
_____Other_________
11. What are your attendance patterns at meeting other than morning worship?
12. What is the pastoral history of your church?
13. Who were the pastors during the last 15-20 years?
14. What single sentence would you give typifying the ministry of each, and reason for their leaving?
15. Who are lay leaders of the church? (i.e. a deacon body, a particular family, etc.)
16. What are some touchy issues with the people in your church that cause it to be dysfunctional? (Every church is made of sinful humans, so every church is dysfunctional.) [i.e. divorce, alcohol, tobacco, materialism, or others, of which a pastor would need to be aware]
17. While ultimately scripture should lead the church, what style of leadership typifies the practice of your church? (Allocate by percentage, total should be 100%)
_____Board/Committee/Leadership Team leads
_____Pastor leads
_____Items are taken to a Church vote
_____Other ______________________________________
18. How many people are weekly involved in organized scheduled outreach to the lost or the unchurched?
19. How many converts would you say your church has seen in the last year? _____ Baptisms? _____
20. How would you typify the way your church treats visitors? (Place an X on the continuum).
Extraordinarily
warm ____________ friendly ____________ reserved ____________ hostile
21. How and when was your church started? By whom? Are they still involved?
22. Are there any traditions in your church that you expect to be continued?
23. What percentage of the church budget is allocated to missions? How is this broken down (i.e. 13% total: 3% to Associational Missions, 7% Cooperative Program, 3%Specific Ministries and Missionaries)

B. COMMUNITY

1. Describe your community in a short paragraph (population, prominent employers, general atmosphere and attitude).
2. The church may do all of the following things, but all of them cannot take priority.
What is your ranking of the following eight emphases in priority order (#1 highest, #2 next, etc.):
___Missions ___Worship ___Fellowship ___Preaching ___Evangelism ___Serving
___Teaching ___Families

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 or similar?
6. Over the last five years or so, when people have left your church, what did they say was the reason? What do you think were the primary reasons?

7. What are the five biggest changes you would like to see happen in your church?

8. Who do you feel has been your most ideal pastor? Why?

C. PASTORAL LEADERSHIP

1. Who supervises the pastor? How is the pastor held accountable? How is he evaluated?
2. What do you believe are the most important priorities for your new pastor
(#1 most important, #2 next most important, etc.)?
____Time with family ____Prayer ____Visitation ____Preparation for preaching
____Counseling ____Administration ____Denominational/para-church work
____Meeting with Other Staff ____Other ___________________
3. 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 ____Prayer ____Visitation ____Preparation for preaching
____Counseling ____Administration ____Denominational/para-church work
____ Meeting with Other Staff ____Other ___________________
4. What provisions do you make for the pastor’s personal and professional growth?
5. Are you comfortable with your pastor seeking further education? What if such education means the pastor will be out of town for 4-5 weeks each year for classes? (Up to two weeks at a time)
6. How would you typify the prayer support for your present pastor?
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 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 ministry staff should be added to the church? How do you expect other staff (Secretaries, Janitors, etc.) to be added to the church?
9. What are your expectations of the pastor’s wife? Children?
10. Over the past fifteen years which pastor’s wife do you believe has functioned in the most ideal way? Why?

D. OTHER MINISTRIES

1. What other ministries are closely associated with your church? (e.g. Christian School, Day Care Center, Counseling Center, Food Pantry, etc.)
2. What role is the pastor expected to take in the leadership of these ministries?
3. How are these ministries kept accountable?
4. How much time is the pastor expected to spend each week involved with these ministries?
5. How are these ministries funded? How do they appear in the church budget?

E. THEOLOGY

1. Describe your church’s accepted theology on the following issues:
   a) Salvation is it an Act of Man or an Act of God?
   b) What does it mean to be saved?
   c) What should the Church’s priority be? (Evangelism, Missions, Helping the Poor, Social Injustice, etc.)
   d) Does your church have a stance on end time issues? What is it?
2. Does your church have a written statement of beliefs? If no, why not? (Please attach a copy. Note: if it is a standard statement such as The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 then a reference to the name and year of issue will be sufficient.)
3. What is your church’s covenant? Is it followed, or is it gathering dust? (Attach a copy)
4. What are the qualifications for leadership selected in the church? (Attach a copy of the Church Constitution)
5. What does the church practice in terms of church discipline?
6. What is the role of women in the church?
7. Is it acceptable for women to be deacons? Ministers? Pastors?
8. What is the church’s attitude toward homosexuality? How does this differ from the attitude toward adultery, pornography use, etc.? How do these attitudes differ from the attitude toward other habitual, non-sexual sin?
9. Complete these sentences:
   a) The King James Bible is…
   b) Reformation Theology is…
   c) We believe that correct doctrine is less important than…
   d) We believe that correct doctrine is more important than…
10. How does the church participate in missions?
11. How does the church participate in evangelism?

F. WORSHIP SERVICES

1. What kind of programs beyond worship for all ages does your church presently have in place?
2. What sermon style does your church expect? (e.g. topical or verse by verse expository) How much time is allocated in your worship service for the sermon?
3. Who is allowed to lead music or give special music? How is this decided? How are these people evaluated? What are the doctrinal criteria for selection?
4. How would you typify the worship style of your congregation?
_____Formal & orderly
_____Free and informal
_____Traditional
_____Modern (from which era/decade do most songs come? _____)
_____Mixed {___% Traditional, ___% Modern (___ era)}

G. PRACTICAL MATTERS

1. What are the pastor’s financial support package and the related matters of pension, health care, life insurance etc?
2. Does your church have a parsonage? If so, is the pastor required to live there? If not, where do you wish to have your pastor live? (i.e. within 15 miles of the church, a specific neighborhood, etc.) If there is no parsonage, is a housing allowance part of the salary package?
3. Does your church provide health insurance as part of the salary package? If so, through which provider?

H. REFERENCES

Please provide the following references, including names, email addresses, addresses and telephone numbers.
a) Current/most recent pastor
b) Immediately prior pastor
c) Other prior pastor
d) Community person
e) Denominational official who knows your church
f) Former member (someone who once attended your church but is now active in another church, perhaps in another community)
g) Recent special speaker who visited your church

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