Pastor Candidate Questionnaires

Is anyone else tired of filling out questionnaires?

Just today I finished three different questionnaires. One was for a job at a college, one was for a church planting opportunity, one was for pastoring. They all ask the same questions but in different ways. It makes it impossible to simply cut and paste your information from one to the next. Isn’t it possible to somehow standardize pastoral candidate questionnaires?

I understand the purpose of pastoral candidate questionnaires. They are designed to better weed out people who really are not the right people for a pastoral position. That is a good thing! In an age when a million people can apply for a single rural church through the wonders of the internet, things like pastoral questionnaires are helpful. Here is where they are not helpful:

1) A pastoral questionnaire that you send out to every individual who applies that is 7 pages long and asks you every possible question, is not helpful.

2) A pastoral questionnaire that asks the same things that are on a resume, yet you still ask them, is not helpful.

3) A pastoral questionnaire that asks for your mother’s maiden name and your medical history is not helpful.

4) A pastoral questionnaire that you really will not look at (because you end up asking the same questions later) is not helpful.

A pastoral candidate questionnaire should be something that initially weeds out undesirables but does not force every candidate to provide transcripts of their schooling, a DNA test, and a credit check. It should ask basic questions like answers to basic theological question and controversial issues, how you would handle different situations, etc. It should not ask what will be on a resume or what can be heard on sermons. When a church decides to move forward with a candidate then they can ask more specific and probing questions throughout the process.

When I filled out a 10 page pastoral questionnaire last year and I never even received confirmation they received it, I realized there was big problem when it came to churches and questionnaires. A church of 50 people should not Google “pastoral candidate questionnaire” and pick one at random that better applies to a church of 300. Ask the questions that are pertinent to the specific church. You will make less work for yourself and not frustrate the candidates incessantly.

Any other thoughts about pastoral candidate questionnaires?

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