Questions to Ask Candidates

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Possible Questions to Ask a Prospective Pastor 

Instructions: Each member of the committee should have a copy of these questions.  Carefully choose from the following list the questions that your committee feels are pertinent to your church.  Check the questions that you would like to ask.  Add your own. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, or to be used in its entirety, or in a particular order, although it could be.

Name of Candidate: __________________________________ Date: ___________________


Ministry Experience:

Describe a grievance you have had with any of the churches you have served.  How was it resolved?

Have you had a positive or negative experience with a church building program?

Describe your weaknesses and your strengths.


Do you have plans regarding future education?  What role do you believe the church should play in your continuing education? 

Philosophy of Ministry:

Describe your personal vision for ministry.  Is there any particular congregation presently reflecting this vision for ministry?

What attracts you to this church?  How long would you like to stay at this church?

Describe your leadership style.  To what extent are you self-directed in your ministry responsibilities?


To what degree if any do you differ with the doctrinal positions of this church?

How would you describe your doctrinal distinctives?

Congregational Life:

What changes may be in store for our congregation if you become our pastor?

What form of church government do you view as most Biblical?

Describe your operational strategy during the first 6 months with this congregation.  What would be your most important priorities?



Describe your routine process of preparing sermons.

How much time do you devote each week to sermon preparation?

How long do you typically preach?

Pastoral Care and Counseling:

What role does pastoral care and counseling have in your present position?

Do you consider yourself a counselor?  What type of counseling do you perform?

More recently, sexual misconduct within the church has become a more visible issue.  What safe guards have you initiated to protect yourself and the church from such misconduct?

How do you equip church members to provide care to other congregational members?

How do you view your role in visiting members and church guests (visitors)?

Do you have any restrictions on the performance of marriages?  Describe your approach to premarital counseling.

Christian Education:

What Bible study curriculum do you currently use for the different age groups within your church?  How do you determine which to use?

Missions and Evangelism:

What types of outreach programs do you feel are important and relevant to this congregation?

How do you view the responsibility of world missions in your current church?


How would you describe your working relationship with your present church Board?  Have you ever experienced conflict with a church Board, how was it resolved?

What training and orientation have you provided for church leaders in the past?

Staff Relationships:

What accountability would be expected among staff members?

How comfortable are you in providing direction to staff members?

What type of conflicts have you experienced with other staff members, and how was it resolved?

How would you respond to other staff members who in your opinion are doing a poor job?

Financial Issues:

What are your salary expectations?

On what basis would you expect future raises?

How many weeks of vacation do you presently receive?

Do you have a retirement plan?

What insurance plans do you have?

Family Life:

Tell us about your family.

How does your family feel about the possibility of this job change?

What things would you like the church to do to provide support to your family?

If you were to move here, what type of housing would you be looking for?


Why are you a pastor?

What motivates you as a pastor?

What spiritual disciplines guide your life?

Do you have outstanding debts with which you are struggling?

Do you have any unusual difficulties with your children or teenagers?

Do you have any outside business involvements?  If so, how involved are you?

Questions about our church:

How familiar are you with the history of our church?  Do you have any questions about our past?

How familiar are you with the current life of our church?  Do you have any questions?

What do you see that you like about our church?

What questions do you have about this position that have not been answered?

Are there any concerns about which we have not asked, which might be of a sensitive nature for you or our church?