How to Do Vocational Interviews in Church

Article / Produced by Individual TOW Project member

When asked, ‘If there was only one thing you could do to change the culture of a congregation to support Christians at work, what would you do?’ R. Paul Stevens said ‘Give me three minutes and four questions in a service every Sunday for a year. I would get a different person up in front of the congregation each week and ask them four questions… Then we would pray for them.’

This is one simple tool that can have a huge impact on how a church community supports its members in their work lives.  Stevens suggests asking four simple questions:

  1. Tell us about the work you do.
  2. What are some of the issues you face in your work?
  3. Does your faith make a difference to how you deal with these issues?
  4. How would you like us to pray for you and your ministry in the workplace.

Then pray for the person in front of the congregation.

Here's an alternet set of questions titled This Time Tomorrow:

  1. What will you be doing this time tomorrow?
  2. What opportunities or challenges will you face?
  3. How can we pray for you?

Here are some examples of churches doing vocational interviews:

Redemption Church, Tempe Arizona

At Redemption Tempe where Jim Mullins is Pastor of Theological Formation and Cultural Engagement, they call this practice an “All-of-Life Interview.”  Watch one of Redemption Church’s All-of-Life interview on YouTube.

The four questions Mullins asks are slightly different from the ones above.  In this article Mullins explains the thinking behind his scripturally based interview questions.  He says that as a result of these interviews his congregation has grown in intentionality regarding their day-to-day work.

Reservoir Church, Cambridge Massachusetts

In the fall of 2015 Reservoir Church ran an 11-week integrated sermon and small group series focusing on work.  During this series Senior Pastor Steve Watson interviewed several parishioners in different work situations, including unemployment.  Watson explained the exercise to his congregation his way: “This fall, I’m going to invite someone each week to tell us about their life outside this community. What’s your work or your passion? What do you do with most of your time? There are too many of us for all of us to come here, but each time we do this, we’ll pray for the one person here, and by extension pray for all of us, that we’ll be inspired. That we’ll experience God breathing joy and hope and purpose and life into our whole lives.” This set of preaching notes demonstrates how one such interview can be woven into the fabric of a sermon.

Colorado

In this video Trevor Lee, Lead Pastor of Trailhead Church in Littleton Colorado, shares what he's learned about preparing people for workplace interviews. Adding a pastoral meeting to the preparation process has dramatically increased the impact of these interviews, not only for the congregation but for the person being interviewed.