Calling a Pastor: Congregational Q&A

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by PeterM, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. PeterM

    PeterM
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    I am in the process of being called by a church to serve as their senior pastor and we have entered into what I believe is the final stage of the journey.

    I have had the opportunity to preach there on two occasions, one of which was the church's homecoming. On those occasions, we have had numerous opportunities to speak with several of the members and they have been very fruitful. That said, I believe that it is very important for there to be an opportunity for the membership to ask me questions in a public forum. The search team has had several chances to do that, and I think that there may be value for them to be able to do the same. I also think that I can continue to bolster my own image as being one who is transparent and available.

    What do you think?

    Blessings...
     
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
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    A meet and greet would be appropriate.
    Maybe on a Sunday evening after a fellowship dinner, everyone meet, and you answer questions...

    What I have been a part of in the past worked out great.
    The search committee announced to the church that they had found a possible pastor, and on Sunday morning there would be a box in the back for people to place any questions for the candidate in.

    That Sunday afternoon, the Search committee delivers the questions to the candidate, and the candidate addresses these questions in the session after the dinner.

    This worked out great!
     
  3. abcgrad94

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    I think every church asked my husband one common question: Can you preach like Charles Stanley?

    Here's my two cents for what it's worth. A Q&A time with the church is a GREAT time to discuss expectations of you, your wife, and family. While they might give you a detailed job description for you, the pastor, many times a church will just assume that the pastor's wife will suddenly be the new pianist or ladies' circle president or whatever, without discussing it with you all first. This would be the time to communicate that they are hiring you, not your spouse, and maybe let them know what her strengths are and in which areas she prefers to serve. (As I said, this is just my two cents, and not all churches have a two-for-one mentality.)
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    I think the church Q & A is the best way to go. You get to go above the heads of the committee to put your heart into the people in a much more personal manner.

    This time will allow you to use the sermons as real sermons designed to touch lives and win people.
     
  5. TomVols

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    I recently dealt with a church that refused a public Q&A. Big red flag. Turned out to be confirmed.

    During the Q&A, you get to put some things out there. However, don't expect that people will listen. Don't expect that they'll remember you said it then. For instance, you can give your wedding policy then, but it means nothing (and still may not) unless and until it's in writing as part of the church minutes.

    I'd also take the time to Q&A the church at that time. Ask them questions. Get them talking. The Pastor search team was picked for a reason. They may be putting out the best face, but they may not have the prevailing opinion of the group. Ask what their expectations are. Ask them about core values, etc.
     
  6. PeterM

    PeterM
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    Great responces... and not jut because I am getting back what I want to :).

    To address the pastor's wife concern... there must be some nightmare situations out there, and mine does not appear to be one of them. I was very upfront that my wife is not the "typical" pastor's wife. She has a career (one where she travels frequently) and makes better money than I ever will. It has been communicated that she will plug herself into ministries and not by me or anyone else. That was not only agreed upon but literally amened in the meeting. These folks seem to be a bit more sophisticated and forward thinking than most which is too bad.

    Thanks again for the replies and if anyone has any horror stories, I would love to hear them.

    Blessings,

    Peter
     
  7. TomVols

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    I hope your situation is different. However, in my experience, most committees will agree and nod about the pastor's wife being an automatic choir member/nursery worker/etc., but in practice, rarely does this flesh out. Just beware of the well-intentioned dragons in this (and other areas).
     
  8. pocadots1990

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    Since the congregation will be voting on you, they have every right to meet with you and have their questions or concerns addressed. No matter what church I was a candidate, I always made the board aware that before I would take any position, I would like to meet with the congregation.

    Be ready for any question that may arise. I was told one time a preacher was asked which political party he was with.

    While searching for a church to serve, my wife called for me (because I work during the day) and a church secretary loved my credentials, then she asked my wife what she could do.

    I would stress that your wife's first priority is the home and then the church.

    Blessings to you brother.
     
  9. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I also want to chirp in on the wife's role...
    I was asked during an interview what my wife could do....

    I commented... "dishes, cooking, taking care of kids, cleaning the house, loving me" .... Then I said, "Oh wait, you mean what can she do for you? Anything SHE wants to do... you are not calling her, you are calling me."

    So far no problems...

    To avoid the on the spot questions, I would suggest what I suggested earlier... give ample time for the congregation to turn in their annonymous questions to the search committee, and the search committee give those questions to the candidate ahead of time...

    The most problematic question I have had this way was one that asked would I allow a Divorced man to be a Sunday School teacher...
    And I was ready to answer the question that night.
     
  10. LeBuick

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    What was your response?


    OP, my prayers are with you. If you are God's choice for under-shepherd you will lead the flock.
     
  11. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I knew someone would take the bait!!! lol:laugh: :laugh: :wavey:

    I said something to the effect that the Sunday School Superintendant was in charge of the teachers, and ultimately the church would vote on the slate of teachers as would be presented to them...(It helped that I knew how the church was ran)

    I also, let them know that God forgives, and I really believe in the forgiveness of God, and if I didn't, I would not be a pastor.
     
  12. PeterM

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    I am extremely grateful for the good conversation... I will indeed heed the advice and be on the lookout for evidence that might put my wife in a difficult place. I would be very surprised at any contradiction to what I have already witnessed and heard. Many of the women in the congregation are like mine... professionals with their own career. That coupled with the spirit of defense and support that what we are discussing would not occur gives me a good measure of assurance.

    Blessings,

    Peter
     
  13. PeterM

    PeterM
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    Well... last night's session went EXTREMELY well!!! The congregation didn't ask any curve ball type questions and the specific issue of expectation was asked and answered. Needless to say, my wife knocked it out of the park... as usual.

    Since this church's call process is a good deal different than any other I've encountered (ie there is no formal vote, only an affirmation on the part of the congregation that must be unanimous), the official call/offer will be issued this Sunday and we have tentatively stated that we will begin on the 16th of next month.

    Thanks for your prayers and support!

    Blessings,
     
  14. Tom Bryant

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    Praying for you!

    We all marry way above what we deserve. It's a blessing God gives.

    Unanimous... wow, is that a Baptist Church? :laugh:
     
  15. PeterM

    PeterM
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    Doctrinally yes... In name no.
     
  16. jshurley04

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    Your first Priority

    I would strongly suggest that you make it perfectly clear that your first priority is not the church either, it must be the family. Far too many families have gone down the drain, not in divorce but in having worthless adult children, because of dad putting the church first above the family. When I came to Seguin, I made it clear that there would be times when they could call, but I may ask them to call again later because of family time. In my mind the only thing that comes ahead of family time it eternal security and life/death of a member. Everything else can wait on my family.
     
  17. SBCPreacher

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    AMEN!

    Also, the church must understand that they are hiring the preacher, not the preacher and his family. This business of "what's your wife going to do" just isn't right. Any pastor's wife will find her place and serve, but it must be what she is called to do, not what the church wants her to do.
     
  18. PeterM

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    In my case, and I made this perfectly clear from the jump, they are NOT hiring a "preacher." Instead, they are calling a pastor. I think I know what you are saying and I agree with your meaning completely.

    I have already stated and the church has acknowledged that no one will dictate to my wife what she will do in terms of service in the church... not even her pastor. I truly believe that this is a healthy fellowship in this area.
     
  19. rbell

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    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I mentioned this quote the other day to my wife. I said, "you know, a wise man once said, 'We all marry way above what we deserve.' You agree, don't you?"

    She responded with, "You did."

    Now, what on earth would make a woman say that?

    :D :D

    Back to topic: PeterM, may God bless your new place of service, may your transition be quick and smooth, and may your surprises be pleasant ones.
     
  20. Tom Bryant

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    Because our wives know us better than we know ourselves.

    And may your church honey moon last very long!
     

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