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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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You're asking what?

Pastors sound off on questions asked by call committees

In the unpredictable world of the call process, perhaps nothing is more stressful — and revealing — than the call committee interview.

It has similarities to a secular job interview, except the candidate must frequently field questions from six or 12 people — maybe even an entire church council or congregation. Call committee members love their congregation dearly, and to discover if this pastor is the best person for them, they ask questions — some planned and some that must simply pop into their minds.

Take "Do you color your hair?" and "How many fillings do you have?" for example. These were among the responses to a question in The Lutheran's call committee questionnaire that was directed to pastors. We asked: "What's the oddest question you've been asked in the call process?" Of the 49 pastors who responded, 16 were female, 14 were male and 19 didn't indicate gender. One spouse responded for the pastor.

Getting to know you ...

If any theme emerges from the "odd question" query, it's that call committees are deeply interested in their potential pastor's personal life and often ask about it: "What do you do with your free time [and vacation days]?"; "How old are you?"; "Do you drink?"; and "How many children do you plan to have? We don't want to replace the carpet in the parsonage until they are all out of diapers."


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