Step Five: Pastoral Candidate Visit
The Search Team is responsible for initially vetting a candidate, but this step allows for the church as a whole to spend time with, ask questions to, and get to know the candidate. Congregational evaluation is paramount to the process.
Based upon the qualifications of an elder/pastor/overseer and based upon the recommendation of the Search Team, the next step for a pastoral candidate would be to visit New Story. This allows the Search Team and the church as a whole to get to know the candidate in person for themselves.
During this visit a few things would take place. The candidate would be given the opportunity to teach, giving the body a familiarity with their style, their authenticity, and theology. There would also be interactions with the Search Team, the Deacons, the staff, and an invaluable time of Q&A with the church owners. We cannot overemphasize the value of the congregation’s involvement in this.
Now, there are many at New Story who have never been through this process and the thought of questioning a potential pastor is intimidating and maybe you even feel unequipped to be involved. There are a few ways we want to encourage and help you in this. First, spend time in prayer. This process and our approach to it must be covered in prayer. Second, review the qualifications of an elder/pastor/overseer that we see in Step Four from 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Lastly, in an effort to assist us all, we’ve compiled a few very important questions that you can use in your evaluation of a candidate.
Questions for a Candidate
Concerning Theology. A church should ask a pastoral candidate theological questions because what that pastor believes will shape everything he does in the church. So a church should ask questions like
- Do you agree with everything in this church’s statement of faith? Is there anything missing from this statement of faith that you would like changed or added?
- What is the gospel?
- What are some theological issues that you think are especially important for Christians to get right in this time and place?
- How would you characterize your understanding of biblical church leadership?
Concerning Philosophy of Ministry. A church should ask a pastoral candidate questions that will expose their working philosophy of ministry, questions like:
- How do you teach the Bible (e.g., expositionally, topically, doctrinally)? What have you preached in the last two years?
- What is a pastor’s primary responsibility? What are the next few priorities after that?
- What are some of the most important ideas and practices that you think cultivate health in a local church?
- How do churches grow, according to the Bible?
- Is practicing church discipline important to you? Why or why not?
- What is evangelism? How should Christians evangelize?
Concerning Practical Leadership. A church should attempt to get some idea of how a pastor practically intends to lead the church. Questions in this category may include:
- What is your style of leadership (hands-on, laid-back, fast-paced, facilitator, CEO)?
- What are your thoughts on worship music for the Sunday morning gathering?
- How do you cultivate a sense of biblical, godly community in a local church?
Concerning Personal Life. Finally, a church should ask a prospective pastor a number of personal questions. Most of the biblical qualifications for pastoral ministry are related to character. Ask questions like:
- How did you become a Christian?
- How do you regularly pursue holiness and communion with God?
- Tell us about your family.
- What are some things we might not like about you if we knew them (theological views, personal weaknesses)?
- What sins do you struggle with most?
If you have any questions, please let us know by emailing us at Info@NewStory.Church.