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Context Guide | Appendix E
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A Note on Using the Context Report
When Calling a New Pastor
One of the unique aspects of the Context Report is the potential to learn more about what the congregation values in pastoral leadership. When a congregation completes Survey Section Seven, the results appear in Part 2, “Who are we?” of the Context Report.
This information is particularly useful for a church searching or preparing to search for a new pastor. In reviewing the data in this section it’s helpful to return to the original Congregational Survey in order to review the definitions of key pastoral roles and to see the characteristics from which the choice of pastoral style was made.
In Preparing the Pastoral Profile
Most denominations have particular forms, which must be prepared in order to search for a new pastor. It is important that you follow these procedures. The information provided in the Church Leadership Survey can inform you of your congregation’s opinion about the importance of key pastoral roles and the style of pastoral leadership they prefer.
A congregation where 54.6% of those completing the survey rate “Social Activities/Concerns/Involvement” as very essential would be wise to include this in both the position description (ex: The senior pastor will devote 10% of his or her time in programs and organizations that serve our community) and, where used, in a person description (ex: We seek a pastor who demonstrates compassion for those in need and who is committed to serving the community in which our church resides). Likewise, survey results that indicate low interest in the pastor, as “Enabler/Facilitator of Small Groups” would not serve the congregation well by including such an expectation in the search documents.
In Designing Interview Questions
The Key Pastoral Roles survey results indicate which of the many roles a pastor may emphasize are most important to the congregation. This information can provide material for development interview questions. The responses were gleaned from a forced choice series of six questions adapted from the Pastoral Search Inventory of Hartford Seminary as frequent poles of congregational preference.
If you’ve learned that your congregation “strongly prefers” a pastor whose preaching emphasizes contemporary issues, a good interview question might be “How do contemporary issues of the day inform your preaching?” or “How is your preaching reflective of current events?”
If your congregation “slightly prefers” welcomes and implements new ideas and approaches you might ask, “How do you measure the degree of change a congregation can embrace?” or “How do you help a congregation find balance between what it’s already doing and integrating new ideas for ministry?” Another way of using the information would be to ask the pastor, “Which of the many roles in ministry do you enjoy the most? The least?” Asking the pastor, “Would you describe your style as more formal or relaxed?” Questions such as these can provide a wealth of information about whether the pastor’s priorities and style match well for your congregation.