By Matt Henslee
Serving on a pastoral search committee is a tough assignment tasked to church members who may not have interview training or anything to go off other than their personal preferences for a new pastor. As such, most pastors have had their fair share of interesting search committee experiences.
We asked pastors to share some of the craziest search committee questions they’ve received. Here are 10 of them to help you prepare accordingly for your next interview.
- “What are your thoughts on Santa Claus?” I wanted to reply with, “What are your thoughts on the differences between homoousious and homoiusious?”
- “Please name five superheroes to help you save the world. Who would they be and why?” Jesus is the true and better superhero, followed closely by Bibleman.
- “We need you to understand this is a bi-vocational pastorate with $20,000 annual salary and no benefits. While we’re okay with you having a full-time job, you must be available to us 24/7 with no days off, live in our parsonage, and your wife must stay home. You must also do visitations and door-to-door evangelism five days a week.” So you want me to die? Got it.
- “How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” As a self-proclaimed PB&J connoisseur, I’m disappointed this wasn’t asked at my church. This is important.
- “Will you teach them why they shouldn’t listen to rock music?” No. Next?
- “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?” Tread carefully here, my friends.
- “Why would you choose to homeschool your kids?” I would recommend against replying, “Why would you let Caesar teach your kids?”
- “Are you willing to turn off the lights in the parsonage?” Like, all the time, or just when we leave?
- “Do you mind cutting your own grass?” That’s why we have kids.
- “Oh, your wife is staying at home with the kids? That’s too bad, most women around here work.” I got nothing.
Bonus story, actually from me:
“Are you willing to buy a 4WD?” I had a Mustang GT at the time and was initially caught off guard. But then they told me of a time when our town got a gazillion inches of snow.
I sold my car, bought a truck, and we got five inches that year. That was uncharacteristic for the area, but will you join me in prayer for a gazillion inches of snow this year? That’d be awesome!
If you’re in the middle of searching for your next or your first pastorate, know that we’re rooting for you. Be ready to expect the unexpected when you interview. You’ll never know what the next question will be or even if it’s remotely of eternal significance.
Roll with it, be gracious, and bathe these opportunities in prayer.
What other crazy questions have you been asked? Share your interview experiences with us in the comments below.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors and coauthor of the book Replanting Rural Churches. He is the husband of Rebecca, father of four princesses, and pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico.