Once again, thank you for all the comments thus far in answer to my request.
It has now been suggested that I guide the comments a bit more, and seek to focus them on the main area in which I’m looking for ideas and suggestions – namely, doctrine and practice.
To do so, I believe you need to see and read through the questions in the first interviews I have put together. These have been “field-tested” here among the Pastors in my Circuit for the past seven years. They have been unanimously well-received thus far.
A couple of notes:
- First, you will notice that these interviews are labeled “#1” and “#3.” That is because I intend the interview regarding doctrine and practice to be the second interview in the future.
- #1 is very basic and emphasizes the Pastor’s relationship with his congregation, Circuit, District, and Synod.
- #3 is quite a bit more “personal,” and delves into areas like continuing education, parish work habits, and the Pastor’s marriage and family life. I have moved it to the third interview because I realize that if these are going to used by other Circuit Pastors, it may take a few years to build up an adequate personal relationship with his fellow Pastors and their wives to be able to speak openly and frankly about some of these matters.
- I have shared some of this already-used material with some fellow Circuit Pastors and with various District and Synod leaders over the years. Most have encouraged me to continue working on this project, which might then be of some benefit to church leaders in the future.
- Now, regarding #2, you will notice that I have broken down the categories into six areas. This should give you a good idea of the kinds of questions I’m looking for. However, please feel free to suggest questions in other areas of doctrine and practice.
Also, if you are curious as to the reasoning behind the line of questioning in these interviews, or a certain question in particular, please feel free to ask and I will try to explain my thinking.
Again, thank you for your participation. I look forward to hearing more suggestions from both Pastors and laypeople.
CP Visitation Interview #1
A. Personal Ministry
1. How long have you been at this parish?
2. When, and to where, was your last Call?
3. How would you feel about being placed on a Call List at this time?
4. What do you enjoy most about your ministry?
5. What do you feel is the most difficult part(s) of your ministry?
6. What would be the single biggest help to you in your ministry?
7. What are your long-range plans for your personal ministry?
B. Parish Ministry
1. Should the LORD call you to heaven tonight, would a new Pastor find everything here “in order,” so he could carry on this ministry without interruption or major difficulty?
- Do you make monthly reports to your congregation; Council, Elders, etc.?
- If so, is a file maintained with copies of all previous reports?
- Do you keep a list of all calls you make on members and prospects?
- Is the membership list current?
- Are the “Vital Statistics” of all members up-to-date?
- Are the records of “Parish Acts,” i.e. Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, etc., accurate and up-to-date?
- Is there a list of current Inactive members?
- Is a list of members living out of the area being maintained?
- Are there adequate notes on current difficult member situations?
- Is there is a list of current Prospects?
2. How far ahead do you plan out your worship – monthly; quarterly; semi-annually; annually; other?
3. Does this planning include:
- The Church Year
- Theme for the day
- Sermon Text & Theme
- Scripture Readings
4. What format do you use for this process?
5. What are some of the positive attributes of the congregation(s) you now serve?
6. What are your major concerns about the congregation(s) you now serve?
7. What are the general long-range plans for this(these) congregation(s)?
8. Any additional comments you would like to make regarding your personal or parish ministry?
C. The Circuit, District, & Synod
1. What do you believe is the single most important duty of your Circuit Pastor and why?
2. What do you believe is the single most important function of the Circuit?
3. What do you like best about our Circuit meetings?
4. What do you like least about our Circuit meetings?
5. In what ways do you think our Circuit meetings could be improved?
6. What, if any, District office(s) do you hold?
7. What do you like most about serving in the District?
8. What do you like least about serving in this District?
9. What, if anything, would you like to see done differently in our District?
10. What, if any, Synod office(s) do you hold?
11. What do you believe are the strengths of the Wisconsin Synod?
12. What are her weaknesses as you see it?
13. What would you like to see done differently in the Synod?
14. What are your major expectations or concerns regarding the future of the WELS?
15. Any further questions, comments, concerns, complaints, or suggestions regarding the Circuit, District, or Synod?
CP Visitation Interview #2
Doctrine & Practice
I. Public Ministry, Divine Call
II. Scripture, God, Law, & Sin
III. Repentance, Conversion, Justification, Gospel, Faith & Good Works
IV. Baptism, Lord’s Supper, & Absolution
V. Prayer, Pastoral Acts, & Worship
VI. Last Things
CP Visitation Interview #3
I. Continuing Education (with the Pastor only)
A. Current Events & Information
1. Do you believe it is important for a Pastor to keep himself informed about current events, religious and otherwise, both locally and world-wide? If not, why not?
2. Do you receive and read a daily local newspaper? Print or online? If so, which one(s)? If not, why not?
3. Do you receive and read a daily national newspaper? Print or online? If so, which one(s)? If not, why not?
4. Do you receive and read regularly a regional or national news magazine? Print or online? If so, which one(s)? If not, why not?
5. Do you receive and read regularly a theological magazine? Print or online? If so, which one(s)? If not, why not?
6. Which radio and/or television new & information sources do you make use of, if any? Online?
B. Theological growth and education
1. Do you do your own independent exegesis on your sermon text each week? If not, why not?
2. What are you doing to maintain and improve your proficiency in Hebrew and Greek? Learn and/or improve on Latin & German?
3. Do you believe it is important for a Pastor to read and study the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions, including Luther himself, on a daily basis, independent of and addition to his sermon and Bible class preparation? If not, why not?
4. What part(s) of the Bible are you currently reading for private devotion and meditation?
5. What portion(s) of Scripture are you currently studying, aside from Sermon and Bible study work?
6. What part(s) of the Confessions and/or Luther are you currently reading?
7. What theological books are you currently reading?
8. Do you believe it is important for a Pastor to read deeply in other subjects, such as history, science, philosophy, and the social sciences? If not, why not?
9. What book(s) in these areas are you currently reading?
10. What other programs of continuing education are you currently involved in?
II. The Pastor and His Family (with the Pastor & his Wife)
A. Pastor's work habits (to the Pastor; wife may respond also)
1. Do you try to maintain a regular, organized weekly work schedule? If not, why not?
2. If so, does it include adequate time each week for each of the following?
- Sermon Preparation
- Worship Preparation
- Bible Class Preparation
- Sick & Shut-In Calls
- Private devotion
- Personal Study
- Member Visits
- Outreach Contacts
- Correspondence & Reports
- Church & Pastoral Meetings
- R & R with Family
- Personal R & R
3. Are any of these missing consistently from your work-week, and if so, why, and what might be done about this?
4. How many total hours, on average, do you work each week on ALL areas of ministry; personal, local, district, and synod?
5. Do you get enough rest?
6. Do you feel you have time for recreation, hobbies, etc.?
7. Do you feel you spend enough quality time just with your wife each week?
8. Do you feel you spend enough quality time with your children each week?
9. Do you have any health issues related to your work?
10. What would you like to change about your work routine?
B. Wife's work (to wife; husband may respond also)
1. Do you believe being a Pastor's wife is a calling from God? Why or why not?
2. Do you believe you have a role in your husband's Call, and if so, how?
[Please note: It is assumed that all the wives of our Pastors work very hard to maintain a Christian home. Many of the following questions, therefore, are about "other work" they may do in addition to that of a wife and mother.]
3. Are you employed?
[If no, skip to the Section C]
4. Is your employment due to financial necessity?
5. If not financial, what is the reason for your employment?
6. Do you work from home or outside the home?
7. How many hours do you work at your employment?
8. Do you ever feel that your employment lessens your ability to function well as a wife and mother? If so, how do you deal with these feelings?
9. Do you ever feel that your employment lessens your ability to function well as a Pastor's wife? If so, how do you handle this?
10. If feasible, would you prefer not to be employed? Why or why not?
C. Marriage and Family (to both, and both are asked to respond)
1. Has your marriage relationship suffered due to the work of the ministry?
2. If so, in what ways?
3. How would you describe the spiritual state of your marriage?
4. How would you describe the emotional & physical state of your marriage?
5. What would you like to be better about your marriage?
6. What is your plan to bring about these improvements?
7. How is the Christian faith emphasized, inculcated, and practiced in your family?
8. Are there any health-related issues with you or your family members that might be important relative to future Calls, and if so what are they?
9. Do you believe that you and your family receive the proper and necessary care and support from the congregation?
10. If not, what would you like to see done differently in this regard?
Other comments, questions, or matters for discussion: