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Those Killer Questions Search Committees Ask

Those Killer Questions Search Committees Ask

What started this was something Josh Woo said yesterday.

Josh, a fascinating young friend who grew up in my last pastorate, is a veteran of game shows and quiz programs. When he was 11, he was a contestant on Jeopardy. As a student at the University of Southern California, he hosted his own television program on the campus station. A few days ago, he was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In between, he’s done the Wheel and several other shows.

The question that tripped him up on Millionaire went something like this: “At 7’7″, so-and-so is the tallest player in the NBA. But he is slightly shorter than what portion of the Statue of Liberty?” The choices were her right arm, her eye, the tablet she is holding and her finger. Using his final lifeline, Josh asked a buddy to help him, and they missed it. Anyway…

Josh said veteran contestants (like himself) have a name for that kind of question, but perhaps he shouldn’t tell his pastor. I said, “Come on. Give.”

“We call that a Go to Hell question.”

“A ‘Go to Hell’ question,” he explained, “is one relying on such fine detail that no reasonable person should be expected to know it.”

Ah yes. Who among us is not familiar with such.

Questions designed to cull you from the herd, to stop this business in its tracks, to send the contestant home.

Pastors know about those kinds of questions. Search committees have a way of throwing such curve balls at candidates, whether to trip them up, to see how they react or perhaps just to make a point.

I asked some minister friends to share the weirdest questions they’ve received from Pastor Search Committees. Here, in no particular order, is our list of “get outa here” questions culled from search committees over the years…

–“Why do you have no children?”

–“If someone dies, does the funeral time depend on your class schedule at seminary?”

–“If someone gives you tickets to a Saints game, do you expect us to pay your supply preacher?”

–“You aren’t gay, are you?”

–“How much does your wife weigh?”

–“Can you drive a tractor?”