personal productivity

23 Compelling Church Leader Interview Questions

A well-planned interview for a new leader at your church is a critical part of the hiring process. Rather than “winging it” or asking the “same old, same old” questions, take time to plan the interview. It’s important to get a clear picture of the candidate in these three areas:

  • Competency // Can the individual do the tasks and lead the team as needed? Does he or she have the skills and abilities required to take your church to the next level?
  • Character // Is he or she a person of integrity who lines up with the values of your church? Does the candidate have a vibrant and growing faith that you’d love to see replicated in other people?
  • Chemistry // Do you like spending time with him or her? Is this the kind of person that you’d like to spend a lot of time with in the future?

Below are some example questions in three different categories to help you plan for upcoming interviews.

Icebreaker Questions

As you kick off an interview, you want your candidate relaxed and feeling comfortable. Nervous or anxious people don’t interview well and won’t give you a sense of what it would be like to have them on your team. Here are some suggested questions to help break the ice at the start of the interview:

  • What innovation in technology has made the most impact on your life or ministry?
  • Who was your childhood hero and why?
  • Tell us one of your earliest memories from being in a church.
  • Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?
  • If you could choose an age to remain forever, which age would you choose?
  • If you had one free hour each day, how would you use it?
  • What was the best thing that happened to you this weekend? This month? This year?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?

Performance-Based Questions

Past performance is the best indicator of the future performance of a prospective team member. Find out what the candidate has actually accomplished. Here are some potential questions for you to consider using:

  • Tell 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 the pace and what the outcomes were.
  • What have you done this week to grow in your relationship with Jesus?
  • How have you improved existing systems and structures in the past?
  • 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 accomplish 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 been involved with at your church. Tell me about your part and the outcomes.
  • When you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa, what do you do?

Next-Level Questions

Looking for some next-level questions that might uncover fascinating insights into your candidate? Like a spice in a good meal, don’t overdo these kinds of questions. Your goal in interviewing people isn’t to ask “gotcha questions” that throw them off balance. Here are a few questions that will encourage your candidate to think deeper:

  • What book do you think everyone on the team should read?
  • What unanswered questions do you have about your faith?
  • What do you know is true that most people disagree with you about?
  • What are a few things that really bother you that most people don’t seem to mind?
  • What are we doing as a church that you disagree with or would want to change?

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  1. I have spent a lot of time researching questions that our Pastoral Nominating Committee should ask prospective pastors. I find it interesting that none of the questions revolve around growing the church membership or attracting youth to the church. interesting?

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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.