I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel today to play the part of a board member grilling a potential youth pastor. I hate to admit it but I had way too much fun. I asked hard questions based on my own experiences and questions I wished pastors would have asked me. Needless to say, based on my questioning, I like my potential youth pastors extra crispy.
The first person interviewed, and the youngest of the three, looked at his shoes a lot, said umm a lot, and was generally confused. I smelled blood in the water so I ramped up the questioning. My fellow board members laughed at how tough my questions were but I resolved that I would do this kid no favors by asking softball questions. I think we all started out naive. I just wanted to work with kids, help kids, minister to kids, but we quickly found out that working at a church required more than just a desire to minister to kids. Through my questions, I tried to let this kid know that more would be required of him and that he had to think a little deeper.
The second kid interviewed was older had some experience, but not really, he was working for his brother. Working for family is different than working for a stranger. Family will overlook our flaws and put up with nonsense a stranger will not. he had quick answers, had given deeper thought to the issues, and was generally well prepared. My goal was to break him, and I did (insert evil laughter here), with a plan. I thought back to my younger days and what I was like. I had a little experience under my belt. Although I played it humble, I really did think I knew best. I wish someone would have kicked that arrogance out of me.
The third person interviewed was a seasoned veteran, 38 years old, and pastoring a church, who had to take this class and therefore go through this interview process. We were much kinder and gentler with him. Why? Because, there is truly no substitute for experience, a.k.a failure. This person had nothing to prove as maybe the other two felt they did. We asked him about his church, how he blended youth and the adults together, and his dreams. He passed with flying colors.
My fellow “board members” asked some great questions and I am adding them into this list. Every church interview you go to will be different so just use this as a guide and not as the gospel. We only grilled each interviewee for about 45 minutes each. The normal interview will be much longer and you may go through several committees. Ten questions you should be able to answer
1. What is the gospel?
2. What does it mean to disciple students?
3. How do you handle conflict?
4. How important is prayer and the bible to your ministry?
5. What are your strengths?
6. What are your weaknesses?
7. Do you work better in a team or alone?
8. What kind of outreach strategies have you used?
9. How would you deal with a teenager in trouble?
11. If you knew you could not fail what you attempt? This speaks to your dream and not just your skill or passion level. Always be able to define your dream.
11. Star Wars or Star Trek? If you say Star Trek, be prepared to answer Kirk or Picard. If you say Star Wars, be prepared to tell me why the new Star Wars will not suck. (o.k., I’m the only person who would ask this question in an interview but I want to know your geek quotient)
This, of course is not a definitive list. It’s a primer of simple questions most pastors, (this pastor) should/would want to know.
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