Based on what I’ve learned about church leaders via years of church consulting, here’s a pop quiz for pastors and other church leaders. Many leaders with whom I’ve worked could not answer these questions – questions I believe strong church leaders should be able to answer:
- What are your church’s mission and vision statements? You might be surprised how many leaders can’t answer this question.
- What are the demographics of the community within 5-10 miles of your church? Too often, leaders guess at this answer.
- What are the names of your community’s government officials? Spiritual leaders in a community should know these names, particularly to pray for them.
- Is your church growing? If so, is it growing by evangelistic growth? Transfer growth? Biological growth? You should know the source of your church’s growth.
- What is your church’s baptism/conversion: resident members ratio? This ratio (baptisms/conversions per resident member) hints at the church’s level of evangelistic effectiveness.
- What is your church’s facility capacity (# of parking spaces, education capacity, worship center capacity)? An administrator may know most of this information, but pastors should be aware of these important data as well. My guess is that COVID has resulted in more churches raising these questions.
- What are the names of your staff members’ spouses and children? Not knowing suggests an unhealthy disconnect between the leader and the staff.
- What is the testimony of your primary leaders? It’s a tragedy if you serve with people every week whose Christian stories you don’t know.
- Is your church meeting budget? If you don’t know this information, you might be surprised some day by what you find.
- What percentage of your active attenders have joined within the past three years? Being aware of this figure helps you know if the church might be in a leadership transition (older members vs. newer members).
- How many church planters, missionaries, and pastors has your church sent out during your ministry? If you’ve never asked this question, my guess is that the number is probably small.
- What percentage of your active attenders are involved in a small group? If the small group is the place where your members get connected, you should know this answer.
- Do your church’s leaders affirm the church’s doctrinal statement? You might assume they do, but do you know for certain?
- How many mission trips is your church sponsoring this year, and to what places are the teams going? Leaders who can’t answer these questions likely aren’t as involved in missions as they need to be.
- What is your vision for the church five years from now? A generic “I want the church to be reaching more people” really isn’t sufficient. A good vision has some level of specificity based on the church’s history, context, and leadership.
If you assume a value of 6.5 points for each question, with a 2.5 point curve just because we all need grace, what would you score on this pop quiz?
Posted on July 28, 2020
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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I feel pretty comfortable that I know the answers to all but 2, but I don’t like the answers I would have to give to several. Thanks for provoking some consideration of stuff that too easily gets lost in the business of day to day ministry.
Pastored now over 50 years, excited about our future!!!
GREAT QUESTIONS….every pastor including ME needs to
answer positivly to all.
The score for the church that I have been associated with for more than 3 years did not surprise me. It was 0!
Wow dude. Fifteen questions and not a mention of the two most important questions about any church: is it friendly, outreaching, and communally connected in the biblical sense and is the preaching sound, complete, and bible based. Everything else will follow if these are met willingly and passionately.
It really is no wonder why churches are shrinking and filled with problems. The two main commands Jesus gave us were to love God and love our neighbors. If pastors and congregants followed these commands with fervor there would be minimal functional problems with any church.
If a church is having problems, and God help us, most are nowadays, the pastor and congregation need to be taken back to fundamental Christian basics of living. It’s very simple, but it requires people that choose to follow God’s wisdom instead of their own, and it seems most leaders and congregants today simply do not want this.
A bad tree cannot bear good fruit, but thankfully we as Christians don’t have to be pulled out at the roots and tossed aside. We can be restored instantly through the power of Jesus, but we have to let Him.
Thanks for your thoughts, Andrew. This list is not an exhaustive list, and I tried with this list to focus more on questions that are generally answered objectively. I don’t differ with your questions, however.
Do you take questions from new pastors? I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary July 28th?
I’m not sure I understand your question, James. If you’re asking about a place to ask such questions, you might consider joining Church Answers Central, the online community on this site.