17 Questions Your Pastor Search Committee Should Ask Your Church Staff
When a church is looking for a new Senior Pastor, more often than not, they elect a Pastor Search Committee, Pastor Nominating Committee, or Call Committee, etc. A Pastor Search Committee usually does not include any staff members from the church. This helps the Pastor Search Committee maintain objectivity, keeping the best interests of the church (and not their own jobs or work culture) in mind.
However, it’s still very important for the Search Committee to gain input from the church staff, ideally before the search process begins. The members of the Search Committee don’t always know what it was like having the previous Pastor as the staff leader. They may not know what it was like to work under the last Pastor or what the staff culture was like.
In order to have the most comprehensive view possible of what kind of candidate you are looking for, the Pastor Search Committee must ask the church staff members about their previous leader and what they are hoping for in a new leader. This information-gathering can be done through a survey (there are lots of free, online, confidential survey resources available out there), face-to-face interviews with key staff members, and/or a group meeting.
Here are 17 example questions to help you decide what to ask your church staff when gathering information for your Senior Pastor search.
- How did your previous Senior Pastor lead the staff?
- What words would you use to describe their leadership style? (You might include a word bank with this one, where the church staff members can select the words that apply: Collaborative, relational, servant-leadership, visionary, intentional, empowering, discouraging, micro-managing, critical, etc.)
- What was it like to work under our previous Pastor?
- How would you describe our last Pastor’s vision-casting?
- What words would you use to describe the current team culture?
- How would you like to see the current team culture stay the same?
- How would you like to see the current staff culture change?
- How did our last Pastor set the tone for, encourage, or discourage the staff culture?
- How did our previous Pastor handle confrontation or bad news within the team?
- What were, in your opinion, the most effective leadership traits of our last Lead Pastor?
- What were, in your opinion, the least effective leadership traits of our last Lead Pastor?
- What were, in your opinion, the most effective pastoral traits of our last Lead Pastor?
- What were, in your opinion, the least effective pastoral traits of our last Lead Pastor?
- What leadership traits would you most like to see in our next Senior Pastor?
- What leadership traits would you least like to see in our next Senior Pastor?
- What pastoral traits would you most like to see in our next Senior Pastor?
- What pastoral traits would you least like to see in our next Senior Pastor?
Make sure, when gathering this information, that you make it very clear that, while their honest answers are very important, they are not the final decision-making factors for what kind of Pastor you are seeking. You could include something like: “Your answers may or may not determine the specifics of the kind of candidate we are seeking. Your voice has been heard, and we will prayerfully and diligently seek the best possible candidate whom we believe God is calling to lead our church in our next season of ministry, who aligns with our church vision, and who will help our church and team carry out its mission.”
What other questions will help a Pastor Search Committee gain information from the church staff about what kind of leader they should be seeking?