Considering a new ministry position can be exciting and intimidating. In 16 years as a full-time children’s pastor, I’ve done plenty of interviewing. I’ve also interviewed many potential staff members. Along the way, I’ve compiled the most important questions to ask early on in the process. They’re essential!
Admittedly, these questions are most relevant to a children’s or family ministry position. But I hope anyone interviewing finds these topics helpful.
Accepting a New Ministry Position: What to Ask
Here are 12 questions you need to ask. Make sure you receive satisfactory answers before accepting a ministry position:
1. Is this church looking for a children’s pastor or a children’s leader/administrator?
Learn if the ministry position is for a pastor, administrator, or a bit of both. Obtain a copy of the job description! When I review kidmin job descriptions, I see many buzzwords. Examples include cutting edge, relational, team player, family minister, creative, leader of leaders, self-starter who can hit the ground running, not a one-person show.
More churches, especially larger ones, want more of an administrator to oversee their programs. The sheer volume of details and coordination requires a “Joseph” (or several) with much wisdom and great organization. What is the difference, really? Which does your church need or want to hire? Which one are YOU? Here’s how to tell:
Children’s Pastor: Provides leadership, vision, strategy, recruitment, and volunteer coordination. Has a background in pastoral work. The ministry position is pastoral. As a pastor, this person baptizes, visits homes and hospitals, and has a pastoral calling.
Children’s Director: This person does more administration. Usually, a previous children’s pastor or the lead pastor already provides direction for the children’s department. The kidmin director is the “person in the trenches” carrying out that plan. The children’s director typically doesn’t have a background in pastoral ministry. But he or she may be gifted in organization, networking, and communication.
Many positions are a mix of both. It’s crucial to clearly understand your role before signing on the dotted line. Expectations matter. If your church expects a children’s “pastor” but you don’t ever want to do baptisms or kids worship, you may have an awkward clash of expectations. Or if your church thought it wanted a visionary children’s pastor but needed an organized administrator, problems also will occur.
2. Are you looking for someone to provide vision or to carry out a pre-existing vision?
If this is a “director” position, managing a pre-existing vision, who formed the vision? And who sets that vision now (former children’s pastor, senior leader, Family Life Director, a curriculum)?
3. Who chooses the curriculum we use?
Am I locked into the current one? If so, for how long? Who would have to approve a curriculum change?
4. What is your church’s policy on providing childcare for events?
Would I be responsible for organizing childcare for church events? How many per month?
5. Does the church do evangelism/outreach? (Not all do!)
What and how many outreaches and serving opportunities does the church do? How would I be involved?
6. What expectations would the church have for my spouse/children?
Ministry is always a family affair. So clarify what roles, if any, your family members will have.
7. What is the typical work schedule/hours for staff members?
Get the numbers in writing. But also realize that every ministry position requires a healthy dose of flexibility.
8. What is the senior leader’s vision for the children’s department?
This is crucial because that vision automatically becomes your vision. Then you must uphold and defend it. If you accept that position, the senior leader’s vision is what you’ll be working to bring to life! So you must be 100 percent on board with that vision.