It is important for interviews to work both ways – youth workers interviewing for a position should not only put their best foot forward, but also ask questions to make sure that the church is a good fit for them. Likewise, churches should be prepared to ask difficult questions to make sure that they find the right candidate. Too often I see churches rush through the hiring process and end up with a less than ideal candidate.
When a church is in the process of hiring a youth worker, I’d recommend moving as slow as possible. You don’t want to end up with the best of the worst. Get to know the candidate over coffee or lunch, if possible. Bring in their spouse and get to know his/her family, if applicable. Don’t be afraid to spend some money on the interviewing process – it’ll save you money in the long run when you’ve hired the right person!
I wrote more about hiring youth ministers in this post last summer, but wanted to continue the conversation by exploring some interview questions for churches and candidates. These questions are unique for United Methodist churches. I think it is important to acknowledge our United Methodist heritage and theology that sets us apart.
Questions for Churches to Ask:
- What is your understanding of Grace?
- How do you handle conflict?
- What is your leadership style?
- How do you pick curriculum?
- How do you choose and train volunteers?
- What is your definition of a successful youth ministry?
- What should the relationship be between the youth and the greater church?
- What does missions and service mean to you? How will you incorporate local mission opportunities into your regular programming?
- What are the top 5 things you’d want students to learn before they graduate?
- How do you treat and utilize parents?
- How would you handle it if a youth brought you a social issue and asked your opinion? (Homosexuality, abortion, global warming, etc.)
Questions for a youth ministry candidate to ask:
- What do you consider a normal schedule for a youth worker? (ie: 9am-5pm M-F, on call 24/7…)
- How do you utilize youth in leadership in the church?
- In your opinion, what is the role of the youth minister/director/pastor in the life of the church?
- How do you define success for the youth ministry?
- How do you envision the youth ministry in 5 years?
- Who is my supervisor? How am I evaluated?
Of course there aren’t standard right answers to most of these questions. This is just a good place to start to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a church and vice versa.
This list is also not comprehensive. What are questions you are asked in an interview that are especially helpful? What are questions you’d want answers for in an interview?