Questionnaire for Pastoral Candidates

When working with churches that are looking for a pastor I encourage them to prepare a list of key questions for any candidate. Few churches, in my experience, are prepared with good, thoughtful questions that will get to the heart of key issues.

Recently, a friend shared with me the following questionnaire which comes from a church I know almost nothing about. I am sharing it here because it is a good example of questions to pose to a pastoral candidate. Anyone looking to serve as a pastor should be prepared to answer these questions well. The first 13 questions cover key theological, moral and practical issues. Question 14 is well-worded, getting to the heart of how one understands ministry. Any pastor would do well to contemplate carefully how this question should be answered.

Then, the last question is a very important one that should always be addressed (and the candidate should ask why the previous pastor left this church).

Question # 1: What are the qualifications for a pastor/elder and how well do you meet them?
Question # 2: What is your view of church government? How do you view the roles of elders/deacons/pastors?
Question # 3: How do you explain the first chapter of Genesis?
Question # 4: How should the church minister to their children and youth, and what role do children/youth play in the church?
Question # 5: Explain the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. Briefly defend and Biblically support the position you hold.
Question # 6: How would you describe an effective worship service? What do you see as the role of music in worship and what range of styles do you think are appropriate? What style of music do you prefer?
Question # 7: How would you describe your preaching style? (topical, expository, narrative, etc?). In a typical week how much time do you spend in sermon preparation?
Question # 8: What is your favorite Bible translation? Why?
Question # 9: What is your view on divorce in the body and in leadership?
Question # 10: On what social and moral issues do you feel the church should take a stand? How should this be done?
Question # 11: What guidelines do you use when deciding to perform a marriage ceremony?
Question # 12: What do you believe and practice in regard to spiritual gifts such as tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy and healing?
Question # 13: What is your view of end-times or eschatological issues?
Question # 14: What criteria do you use to evaluate an effective ministry?
Question # 15: Why are you leaving your current church?

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