I have a friend who will soon be interviewed by a pulpit committee for the position of pastor. He wrote to a few friends asking for some "killer questions." Here are a few of the suggested questions:
1. What's the elephant in the room that no one wants to address?
2. When people in this community hear the name of this church, what do they think of first?
3. What new people have joined the congregation in the past two years. What attracted them?
4. What people have left the congregation in the past two years. Why did they leave?
5. What issues have consumed most of the Board's time during the past two years?
6. Why exactly did the former pastor leave?
7. What position does the church take on these controversial matters: women in leadership roles, divorce and remarriage, Christians and politics, etc.
8. Which Christian leaders have influenced this church the most: Rick Warren, John MacArthur, John Piper, James Dobson, etc.
9. What do they expect the pastor's wife to do?
10. When did the church last deal with a church discipline matter?
11. What do people in this community do for fun?
Here is my own contribution:
What exactly do you want me to do?
You'll get quick, easy answers. Don't be satisfied. Probe, ask follow-up questions, use this as a launching pad. The problem is that everyone knows what a pastor does, but no one can agree on it. Every church has a set of unspoken assumptions about what the pastor should do. Unfortunately you tend not to discover them until you've on the job for six months. A frank discussion now could save you from problems later on.
What questions would you add to this list?