In the course of filling a staff position, most churches require a potential candidate to complete a questionnaire. These questionnaires accomplish at least two purposes. First, committees request information beyond what is contained in a resume or doctrinal statement. Such information ranges from general to specific, personal to professional. This information helps churches to get to know a candidate. A second purpose of questionnaires is to gather information in a common format so that they can more easily sift through mountains of potential candidates they have. Churches are often inundated with resumes when they begin their pastoral search—my personal experience places this number at 60–100. After an initial purge, they will contact a few candidates and ask them to complete a questionnaire. Having information in the same format aides the committee in the next phase of their search.
Questionnaires are a useful tool to a church in their search for a new staff member, but for the potential candidate they are time-consuming. Over the years I have completed at least twenty questionnaires. I have found many common questions. In an effort to save myself some time, I am beginning a Questionnaire Series in which I will answer some of the most common questions I’ve received. This post will deal with general information.