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Before You Say Yes To The Church

So you've interviewed for that pastoral position   It's been a long process and you've been vetted inside and out by the church and they are ready to offer you a Call to be their pastor.  Before you say yes - have you done your due diligence in discovering the kind of church and environment that you may be walking into.  It is important that before you accept, you go in with your eyes wide open and you've asked the right type of questions of the church and it's leaders.

Here from Thom S. Rainer are seven questions that are more likely to get to the heart of the matter. He encourages pastors to ask these questions and listen carefully to their responses. It could save a pastor a lot of heartache in the future.
  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 is a more subtle approach than asking who the power group is. They may respond with one name or they may point to a group of people. You may hear stories how the power brokers operate. And if you decide to accept the call to the church, you have good insights on how to lead and move forward. Or there could be sufficient horror stories to keep you away.
  2. What is your dream for how the church might look ten years from now? Once you hear the responses to this question, you will likely have a good idea of what the change tolerance is in the church. Any organization should look significantly different in a decade. If their decadal view involves only cosmetic changes, you may have a leadership challenge.
  3. What was the topic of your last contentious business meeting? You will learn a lot by hearing when that meeting took place. If it was just a few weeks ago, the church may be a fighting lot. If it was several years ago, it is likely that the church is a relatively civil group. You will also be able to hear the issue and find out if that issue is still a point of contention today.
  4. What is your fondest memory of the church? It’s always good to find out when the “good old days” were, and if they are still the focus of longing today. On the other hand, the good old days may be a point where the church experienced a period of great spiritual and numerical growth. Their desire to return to those days could be healthy.
  5. What is the number one recommendation you have received in your search for a pastor? Often the congregation will have been surveyed on this issue, and you can hear the direct results of that survey. At the very least, they have had informal conversations on the topic. They should be able to share many insights with you. In some ways, they will be giving you the church’s expectations of you.
  6. What is something I might say from the pulpit that would cause a number of members to cringe?
  7. What is the biggest mistake made by any of your previous pastors? 
Read entire post HERE


Hi Bill, what are your thoughts on asking to see the church financials?

I think that is an appropriate question. For the sake of transparency, most churches make those available to any parishioner if/when they ask, and most times those financials have to be seen and revealed yearly for congregational approval. (it just depends on the ecclesiastical body how that is conducted). So YES, certainly one should ask.

I learned a lot of information about it. Thanks for sharing them. I will be expecting more of your posts in the future.

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