personal productivitystrategy

10 Performance Based Interview Questions for Church Leaders

Often when we hire staff in a church context we are thinking about the potential a candidate has for the future. A part of the way we’re wired as church leaders is to see the best in people … to believe that people will develop and become “better”. Although this attitude is great when we are working with the people at our church it is a significant liability when we’re hiring new leaders to join our team.

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a number of hires over my career and I’m convinced that we need to base our decision purely on what the person has done in the past. Most people when they join your team will not radically grow or change but will give you the same results that they had in their last ministry environment. Our interviews should be largely based on performance based questions … we need to understand what they have actually done not what their opinions or thoughts on what they would do. Here are some questions that might be helpful for your next interview.

  • performanceTell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do? How did you know they were strong?
  • People consider our church fast paced and always changing. When have you found yourself in a context like that in the past? Tell me exactly what you did to deal with that and the outcome.
  • What have you done this week to grow in your relationship with Jesus?
  • How have you improved existing systems and structures?
  • What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? How did you persuade the leadership at the church to execute your idea?
  • Tell me about a time when you let someone down and how you dealt with that situation.
  • What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area and how did you accomplished them?
  • Describe a time when voicing your opinion was uncomfortable but you did it because you believed so strongly in the value of your perspective.
  • Give me an example of the most complex project you have had at your church. Tell me about your part and the outcome.
  • What do you do when you are communicating with a volunteer and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?


  1. Very useful questions for the person doing the hiring. I got to thinking that answering these questions BEFORE job hunting might also be a helpful exercise for a candidate. It might allow them to identify the type of job they’d truly be good at.


  2. […] Use performance-based questions to explore what they have actually done and soberly consider if that exact level of performance was achieved at your church, would it accomplish what you’re looking for. Development and growth are a bonus, not a guarantee! In fact, their performance will drop in their early days with your church because new relationships and culture take time to acclimatize to. […]

Leave a Response

Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.