Questions that reveal the heart of the new leader


No words were voiced when I was first asked to serve at church. An older guy handed me a pair of tongs and pointed me to the BBQ where there were 300 sausages waiting to be turned.

But a different conversation happened later that year when the Children’s Minister sat me down for a chat about leading in the Sunday morning children’s program. She asked a variety of questions about my life, faith, and experience. Her questions revealed the type of leader she wanted to recruit. She wanted to do more than fill a roster or find gifted leaders. She wanted leaders of integrity; people whom the young people could listen and follow.

Having a clear and intentional conversation with a potential leader is a key element in recruiting godly leaders for youth and children’s ministry. We all know leader recruitment is never about just handing out the tongs. It is important that we prepare for this conversation as our questions communicate the type of leader we desire and the values of the team and the ministry.

Below are six questions you may like to use as you recruit leaders. Remember that the goal is not to find someone with the ‘right’ answers. Rather, their answers will give you insight into their relationship with Christ, their attitude to ministry and the tools they will use. 

Question 1: Ask them to share their testimony

Hearing people testify to the work of Christ in their life is deeply encouraging, whether they enjoyed the gift of a Christian family that nurtured faith since birth or turned to Christ at a certain point in life. It also reveals how a new leader understands who Jesus is, His sufficient work on the cross and their experience of the Christian life.

Question 2: Ask them to share how they would explain the gospel to a young person

The apostle Paul regarded the gospel as something that had a specific content, which is briefly summarised in Romans 1:1–5 and 1 Corinthians 15:1–8. This gospel is the message of God’s good news centred on the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ and the implications of that message for daily life. It is important that leaders can faithfully and appropriately communicate this gospel with young people.

Question 3:  Ask them to share why they think the Bible is important for young people

Placing the Bible at the centre of our leadership places God at the centre of our ministry (1 Timothy 4:13). In the reading and teaching of the Bible, we embody what it means to live as people who are ruled by Christ and acknowledge that we do bring transformation in the lives of the young people we serve. We want to recruit leaders who grasp their privilege and responsibility as ambassadors of Christ to bring his word to young people.

Question 4:  Ask them to share how they watch their life and doctrine carefully

Godly character is the most important leadership attribute in Scripture (Titus 1:5-9). Paul calls Timothy to train himself in godliness and set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Jesus’ leaders need to watch their life and doctrine carefully if they are to effectively serve young people (1 Timothy 4:16).

Question 5: Ask them what support they need to grow as a leader

This question often stumps me when I am asked it because it challenges me to be self-aware and committed to growing as a leader. It also encourages me that I am not just a name on the roster.

Question 6: Ask them to share their prayer routine

Any effective youth and children’s ministry must be one of prayerful dependence on God. God’s leaders are people who pray before, during, and after ministry to call upon God’s power. We want to recruit leaders who are in the habit of praying for themselves and the people they serve (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Recruiting leaders is challenging. These questions will not ensure you can quickly fill your teams. But, they will help you to recruit leaders who are committed to Christ, his gospel, his Word, godly character, and prayer. Think through the questions you ask potential leaders. Explore not only their capabilities and commitment but their character and convictions. Ask them to think about different scenarios. Ask them questions that reveal the sort of ministry and team you are seeking to build. What questions will you ask potential leaders for next year?