Interview Questions for Candidates Seeking Ordination

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1 Interview Questions for Candidates Seeking Ordination Regional Committee on the Ministry Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest The Regional Committee on the Ministry has accepted this list of questions for ordination interviews. There are approximately 100 questions across ten categories. While the time allotted for each interview may not always permit, candidates should expect at least one question from each category. Candidates should also expect questions from their written work and search and call profile, as well as follow-up questions from previous interviews with the Committee on the Ministry. The ten categories for ordination interview questions are: Christian Faith and Tradition World in Theology Perspective/ Mission Professional Skills and Experience in Ministry Scripture Church Gospel Sacraments History and Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Authority, Ordination, and Representative Ministry Personal Fitness, Wholeness and Spirituality in Ministry

2 Christian Faith and Tradition (Theology) How is God revealed in the created order? What place does judgment have in your theology? What aspects of Jesus ethical teaching and moral example are most important to your life and ministry? How do you understand the redeeming power of Jesus Christ? When God created the world and called it good, was God including human nature in that assessment? What do you think about human sin and the fall? How can the church offer grace and mercy to those who continue to sin? How can the church judge and restrain those who abuse others? Describe the understanding of God you drive from Biblical, theological and historical sources? What are the marks of a Christian life? How do we know anything about God? What happens when we pray? What does it mean to call Jesus the son of God? What theologians, classical or modern, have most influenced your own theological understandings? How would you explain the Trinity to an adult Sunday school class? What is your understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit? Describe your understanding of Biblical eschatological expectations? How do these expectations impact person faith and the work of the church today?

3 What does it mean for an ordained minister to be a leader in a Disciples of Christ congregation, given that the congregation is autonomous and that the elected lay leadership of the congregation has or shares responsibility for the congregation s program, direction, etc.? Who are your heroes in Disciples history and why are they so for you? If you were on the Committee of Ministry, what criteria would you use in determining if an ordained minister from another denomination seeking standing was a bona fide Disciples of Christ minister? What is your understanding of the Disciples historic commitment to Christian unity? How will that understanding influence your priorities as an ordained Disciples Minister? What do you see and the three major challenges facing the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the next ten years? As an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), what is your relationship to the area / regional / general church? What is your responsibility to the area / regional / general church? How do you see yourself involved in the area / regional / general church? World in Theology Perspective / Mission What is your understanding of the kingdom of God? As an ordained minister, how will you relate to and serve persons of a race, color, national origin or social status other than your own? What do you know about the differences in male and female experience in our culture? How might pastoral ministry to males and females differ? What do you know about the difference in heterosexual and homosexual; experience in our culture? How might pastoral ministry to heterosexual and homosexual person differ? What do you know about the difference in black and white experiences in our culture? How might pastoral ministry to people of different races vary? What do you see as three major perils in our culture, and how can the church speak to these perils?

4 How would you explain theodicy to an adult Sunday school class? Please use concrete examples, such as the Holocaust or the unmerited suffering of children in making your response. There has been an increase in domestic and societal violence in the community in which you serve. As the minister of the Disciples congregation in that community you have been asked to lead a group that will seek solutions to root causes of such violence. However, some members of your congregation feel that you should give your full attention to the members and programs of the church. What responsibility does the church have to the community? And what is the responsibility of ordained clergy? How will you respond to your church members? Professional Skills and Experience in Ministry What skills do you possess for ministry, and how will you implement them in the first year of your ordination? What skills so you possess to aid you in living with conflict and enduring failure? What experiences do you have in the ministry and how does this experience prepare you for ordained ministry? How have your experiences in ministry been an affirmation of your call or ordained ministry? Name the key elements of a premarital counseling process, including a statement of the purpose of marriage from a theological perspective? State your understanding of the tasks of grief and the appropriate pastoral care response to these tasks? What are the essential elements of a funeral or memorial service? If you were the full-time pastor of a Disciples congregation, what would be your priorities in allocating your time? What is the purpose of preaching? What are the characteristics of a good sermon?

5 Scripture How do you interpret scripture? How is the Bible authoritative for the work of the ministry, for the life of the congregation, and for the community outside of the church? Are there contradictions in the Bible? If so, should the Bible be called the Word of God? How did we get our scriptures? Briefly discuss canon and the process of canonization? Church What is the church? What is the purpose of the church? Describe the chief social problems on which the church has a realistic chance of making a difference? What is the essential nature and mission of the church? In what ways do you see the church being faithful in our times? In what ways apostate? Gospel How do you understand the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior? What is your understanding of the human condition and the human need for divine grace? Why is the resurrection important? As succinctly as you can, explain what you understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be? What does it mean to be saved? From what are we saved?

6 Sacraments What is your theological understanding of baptism? What is your theological understanding of the Lord s Supper? Would you ever re-baptize someone? Why, or why not? Describe the purpose, movements and elements of worship? Should the sermon precede or follow the Lord s Supper? Please give a theological rationale for your response? Who should preside over the Lord s Supper- lay leaders or ordained clergy? Discuss your answer theologically. How is worship connected to mission? What do the sacraments of baptism and Lord s Supper do for us? History and Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Disciples of Christ affirm, In essentials unity, in non-essential liberty, in all things love. What are your essentials, and how did you arrive at such a determination? What is the role of the ordained minister in relation to the three manifestations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)? Who were the founders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)? Briefly tell something significant about each of them. What theological principals stand at the heart of the early history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)? How do those principals continue to influence our church today? A person from another church tradition asks you to describe what is theologically distinctive about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). How would you respond? Explain restructure and its significance for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) today.

7 What would you describe as the major contributions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the North American religious landscape? Ordination, Authority and Representative Ministry Should ordained ministries be expected to exhibit exemplary moral conduct? What strategies might you develop to keep a check on yourself as you are tempted to abuse the power of your position? What is the meaning of ordination? Describe your understanding of representative ministry. What is your understanding of the teaching office of the ordained ministry, particularly the teaching of the Bible? Describe the nature and purpose of your ministry as an expression of the mission of the church. Discuss your understanding of ethical behavior as a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ. Discuss a particular Biblical theme or metaphor which most clearly reflects your understanding of yourself in ministry. (Potential examples might include: shepherd, wounded-healer, wise fool, companion on a journey, midwife.) What is your understanding of the role of the ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)? What does it mean to be one set apart by means of ordination? To who is a minister accountable and how is this accountability expressed? What authority will you have after ordination that you did not have before? How do you understand your call to ministry? Should the church ordain gay/lesbian persons? Explain your position theologically. What vocational / career options have you rejected in deciding to prepare for ministry?

8 What experiences have you had that confirm for you that your call to ministry may be authentic and that ministry may be an appropriate career for you in light of your abilities and aptitudes? In your understanding of ministry, how do you balance the roles of prophet, priest, pastor and teacher? In the process of becoming a minister, seminarians often look to others as role models. Who are those who have best modeled ministry for you, and what qualities have you observed in their ministries that you would like to incorporate into your own ministry? Personal Fitness, Wholeness and Spirituality in Ministry What plan have you devised for your own physical, spiritual and mental health in the ministry? How will you set and maintain appropriate boundaries between yourself and those you serve? Describe your spiritual development and prayer life. What has provided the most discouragement for you in ministry or preparation for ministry? How did you deal with this emotionally and spiritually? How do you decide how to appropriate time for work, play, self and family? What is your plan for your own continuing education? What areas of your personal life bring you most joy?

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