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Asking the right questions of the right people minimizes the surprises.

One cynic declared, "All pastoral search committees lie." I prefer to think a search committee puts make-up on their church to present it as attractively as possible to pastoral beaux. That's the nature of courtship, but it causes some surprise when you see her on that first morning without her face on.

While none of us can learn everything about a church's history or avoid every surprise in a new ministry, we can minimize the surprises by asking some key questions before we venture "I do" to a call. The relationship of pastor and church needs to be built on the solid reality of what both the church and pastor are getting, as well as on the call of God.

Questions for Early Courtship

One of the initial questions I've asked search committees is: "How familiar are you with my resume?" I've found I may need to familiarize them with specific items in my resume.

I learned this the hard way once, several stages into the interview process. They knew much about me by this point. My wife and I were ...

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