I am preparing to transition to a new appointment beginning July 1. One of the things that I have learned from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is that good leaders ask the right questions. I have been working on a list of questions that I believe will be helpful in getting started well at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado.
- How is the church engaging the community?
- What can you tell me about the United Methodist Men?
- What can you tell me about the United Methodist Women?
- How would the church say that they have grown in the past year?
- What is going on during the week?
- What is the congregation’s favorite way of learning? Teaching, book study, etc.
- How are people growing in their faith outside of worship?
- Who are the key influencers in the congregation?
- Who are the people / families that will do whatever it takes at the church?
- Who might peer churches be for support, encouragement and benchmarking?
Who are the staff and leaders that are great Bible study / small group leaders?
- In what ways do the vision and purpose guide what the church does?
- How are the vision and purpose communicated to the staff and congregation?
- What is the vision and purpose of the church?
- For the facility, what needs regular maintenance?
- For the facility, what needs to be repaired?
- For the facility, what needs to be replaced?
- What is the state of the facility?
- How might can I best serve the church?
- What are some ways to get congregational buy in?
- What are some ideas for “quick wins” that might be possible?
- What are things that I might do that have never been done before?
- What facts or realities about me or my ministry can I share that might be helpful for the congregation?
- What are the die hard principles or practices that if I change them will get me tarred and feathered?
- What efforts exist to close the back door? (Keep people engaged who might otherwise leave)
- What are the biggest barriers to people coming in the door?
- What is being done to bring in new members?
- What kind of follow up for first time visitors happens?
- What new networks of people can I engage and develop?
- How does the budget break out between compensation, operations, mission and ministry?
- Is the budget growing?
- Is the church paying its apportionments in full?
- Where do people gather for coffee or breakfast in town?
- What opportunities for mission in the community exist?
What other questions would you add to this list?