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Interviewing a Prospective New Minister

Category Articles
Date November 8, 2004

Often church officers will make inquiries as to what kind of questions they should ask prospective pastors who are ‘candidating’ in their congregations. It is an important matter. As in all things, we don’t have because we don’t ask. When they meet with the man the officers should be gentle and kindly above everything else. He is bound to be nervous, conscious of how little he knows, and should not be ‘grilled’. If he does not become the new pastor his abiding impression of you should be your holiness and love. You should part at the end of the evening in a time of earnest prayer for one another. Do not ask all these questions, but these should be the sorts of issues with which to address this brother. Remember that you are giving him the main responsibility for bringing the word of God to the congregation for the long-term future.

The following questions are not necessarily listed in any order of significance. They need to be rearranged in clusters under the themes of theological convictions, ethical views, worship, evangelism etc. Some of the issues raised may be more important to your particular congregation. You will want to add other questions of your own. Some of these questions are tough enough for a man thirty years in the ministry to answer. Remember you are not part of a perfect church; you are not a perfect group of officers, and he will not be a perfect minister.

1. How is a person made right with God? (What is the gospel? When do you preach the gospel?)
2. Do you have any reservations with the church’s confession of faith?
3. What is your position on the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture?
4. Do you believe in systematic expository preaching?
5. What is your understanding of pastoral visitation?
6. Do you believe Genesis 1 – 11 is actual, symbolic, mythical or something else?
7. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven?
8. What is your position on the issue called “Lordship Salvation”? (Do you believe a person can take Christ as his/her Saviour without taking Him as Lord?
9. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son and was born of a virgin?
10. Do you believe in a literal hell? (If so, who will go there?)
11. What is your position on the ordination of woman for positions of church leadership?
12. How would you deal with a young child who says he or she is saved and wants to be baptized and join the church?
13. How do you combat “cheap grace” and “easy believism”?
14. What are your views regarding divorce and remarriage?
15. What is your position on the charismatic/pentecostal movement?
16. What do you teach about the family? About male headship? About the discipline of children?
17. How would you encourage the spiritual growth of individuals and families?
18. What are your goals and ‘philosophy of ministry’?
19. Would you mind telling us about your personal devotional life and your favourite authors?
20. Who are your role models as preachers?
21. What controls your leadership in worship? What is your role model for a worshipping congregation?
22. Where do you stand on the questions of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality?
23. If there were to be no changes in the structure of our Sunday services in the next ten years would you be content with that?
24. Are you bringing any hidden agenda to the church?
25. What do you think of so called ‘altar calls’?
26. What are your views of contemporary worship music, groups and choirs?
27. What is your view of the law of God and the Lord’s Day?
28. What do you think of children’s talks in the service?
29. Are there conferences you would like to attend each year?
30. Do you have any funny ideas (!)?

[Adapted from Don Whitney, LOOKING FOR A CHURCH HOME; Copyright 2000]

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