5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting A Pastor Job
As we all know, making a bad hire can be a costly and detrimental to the local church. At the same time, the pastor who brought their family through a time of transition has as much if not more of a challenging situation in front of them. In order to help prevent this, we’ve outlined a few questions outside of the more obvious areas of concern that should be asked before you accept an offer.
1. If a big decision needs to be made in the church, to whom do the members look for the blessing or approval?
This question can be very telling about the church in question. Does the church rely on a single person to make all decisions, do decisions have to be made by a group, or are individuals given the power to make decisions on their own? Thom Rainer posted on this exact question a few years ago with a similar description on why it can be a valuable questions. The article can be found here.
2. What is your dream for how the church might look ten years from now?
This question is more than the standard, where do you see yourself in 5 years. Asking this from an organization perspective will give you the chance to understand if the church is looking to grow significantly, or if it has become stagnant. If there isn’t much change in a decade, most likely there is a leadership problem.
3. Is there any conflict in the church now?
This is always a good question to ask. This will give you an idea of how many problems arise in the church, what the culture is like, and how much you’ll have to deal with. Find out when the last conflict was, and how serious. The health of the congregation and staff is one of the most important things to discover before you accept an offer.
4. What are your expectations of my family?
In many cases, churches will have expectations of family members. Whether acting as volunteers, attendance expectations, or simply expectations of support your family will thank you if you know ahead of time.
5. What opportunities will there be for outside engagements? Continuing education?
Always understand where this next position will be able to take you and your family. Are their speaking opportunities? Conferences? Opportunities to learn more from those more wise and experienced than you? You want to work in an environment where you can grow, be stretched, and become a better servant.
We hope this article will help you discover more about your potential work environment, and uncover any challenges that you may experience. Remember that no church is perfect, and they are all filled with sinners. However, going into a new position with the right expectations is imperative to your success in a new role. If you'd like to learn more, Western Theological Seminary has a great article here.