14 Questions to Ask Potential Church Leaders

Maybe your church is in the process of hiring staff or enlisting new lay leaders. In addition to basic theological questions we must ask when enlisting leaders, I encourage churches to consider asking these questions, too: 

  1. Please tell me the story of how you became a believer. It’s encouraging to hear a testimony, and it’s sometimes enlightening when the explanation of the gospel is unclear. 
  2. Tell me what the Lord has been teaching you lately in your Bible reading.  It doesn’t take long to determine if the person has a reading plan, if he’s been reading, and if he actually reflects on the Word.
  3. What are the last 3 books you’ve read? The person who can name no books, or who can name books but give no more details, may not be a learner.
  4. Please share the gospel with me as if I were a non-believer. I doubt you want to hire or enlist a leader who can’t explain the gospel. Frankly, you may even question this person’s salvation.
  5. Tell me about the last time you shared the gospel with a non-believer. Someone who cannot easily respond to this request isn’t likely to suddenly become evangelistic after being hired.
  6. If I were to see your life non-stop for the next week, would I want to pray like you pray? This simple question usually leads to uncovering more detail about the potential leader’s prayer life.
  7. What do you believe about sexuality and marriage? I doubt I need to say much more here. The world does not look to the Scriptures for guidance here.
  8. When was the last time you looked at pornography? This problem is so pervasive that I’ve almost stopped asking, “Have you ever . . . ?” 
  9. If you’re married, is your spouse supportive of your doing this role? I want service in the Lord’s work to strengthen our homes, not hurt them. 
  10. Explain your understanding of Christian liberty when making lifestyle choices. Some leaders lock themselves into legalism while others border on abusing their liberties. Either response can hinder the gospel.
  11. A person somewhere in the world dies without having heard the name of Jesus. What do you believe happens to that person? I admit my bias in the exclusivity of the gospel (that Jesus is the only way to God, and we need to have a personal relationship with Him to be saved); I hope, in fact, that this question would already be included among the necessary theological questions.
  12. How do you determine how much to give financially to the church? I’ve known some leaders who give so little to the church that it’s almost embarrassing.
  13. If you could write a job description to do exactly what you’d like to do, what would that description say? My goal here is to determine any gap between a candidate’s desire and the reality of this potential role. 
  14. Is your resume completely true? Even potential church leaders have been known to deceive a committee about their track record, their educational background, etc.

What other questions might you add to this list? 


  • Buddy Lamb says:

    I would ask: If you were not in a ministry position, what kind of job would you have? This question may reveal distractions of heart or mind or that ministry is not always about where you get your paycheck.

  • Goes without saying your “due diligence” should include a DEEP BACKGROUND check. KNOW the answers BEFORE you ask these questions. Dishonesty and fraud are RAMPANT in ALL professions.
    “Have you ever been accused of financial improprieties?”
    “Have you ever been accused of sexual abuse?”

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