We all know that pastors are wonderful people. They care deeply about their congregations, they perform the sacred task of giving last rites to those who are on their deathbed, and they give generously to charity. Chances are if you live in or around a church or within 50 miles of a seminary you’ve heard some funny stories told by pastors and some jokes made at the expense of religious leaders (not all but some). I decided that one day I would sit down with some pastors and ask them about the most ridiculous questions people have asked them in the past to see what kind of responses I would get. Afterall, it’s always a hoot when you hear one person telling a funny story and everyone else is laughing hysterically.
A pastor is a spiritual leader. They are someone who helps people find their place in the world and guides them through life’s challenges. To be a good pastor, you have to know how to talk with people in a way that makes them feel heard, understood, and loved.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with a pastor, here’s your chance!
Funny Questions To Ask A Pastor
Do you ever find yourself wishing you could ask your pastor a question, but are too afraid of offending him? Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all been there. That’s why we created this list of questions to ask the lead minister at your church. They’re the perfect balance of religious and silly, so you can feel empowered to speak your truth without being too off-the-wall.
Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?
You should ask this question because pastors love talking about Jesus. He is the most important person in the Bible, and one of the most important people of all time. If you want to make their day, ask them who their favorite Biblical character is! And if you want to get technical: Jesus is also the most important person in history, which makes him pretty much the most important person ever.
Jesus loves everyone so much that he died for us on a cross thousands of years ago—and even though he’s dead now, he still lives! His death makes it possible for you to go to heaven when you die. If you don’t know Jesus yet or have never asked him into your heart, then please ask him now while I’m still here reading this article out loud (by myself). Ask any pastor if they would like a copy of my book “101 Ways To Know You’re Going To Heaven!”
How did you decide to become a pastor?
- You can be a pastor of a church, or you can be a pastor within a church.
- If you want to serve in the prison system, there are many ways to do that.
- You might work as a chaplain at a hospital, or maybe in an office building for those who suffer from mental illnesses.
- If you’d like to go overseas and minister directly with people who have little access to education and healthcare, there are many opportunities available for that too!
- And if all else fails…you can always teach! Some people find that they love working with high schoolers more than anything else—and it’s not uncommon for them to become youth pastors later on down the line if this is what they want out of life!
What is the most important thing people should know about the Bible?
The Bible is the most important book ever written. It’s not just the “best-selling book,” it’s also the basis for all Christian belief, and it contains all of our history. The Bible contains stories from thousands of years ago that are still relevant today. The Bible is God’s word, telling us how to live in a way that honors him and brings him glory.
The best thing I think people should know about the Bible is that it has everything we could ever need to know about how to live life as Christians!
What leadership traits does Jesus demonstrate in scripture, and how can people cultivate those in their own lives?
As a pastor, you’re likely to encounter many different people in your ministry. One of the best ways to build relationships with them is by asking questions and listening to the answers. This helps pastors gain insight into their congregants’ lives, which can help them better understand how to serve them.
Here are some conversation starters for pastors:
- What leadership traits does Jesus demonstrate in scripture, and how can people cultivate those in their own lives?
What are some common misconceptions that people have about God?
It’s important to know that God is not a vengeful God. People often view him as a God of wrath, vengeance and anger; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. God is not a God who demands that people choose to worship him or else he’ll do horrible things to them. Yes, there are consequences for sin (the wages of sin is death), but these consequences are never deserved by anyone in this life or any other life. To be clear: You don’t deserve anything bad happening to you if you have done nothing wrong!
Why do you believe in Christianity but not any other religion?
In Christianity, the Bible is the Word of God. It is an infallible guide to life that can never be broken. In other religions, there are no such things as infallible guides or eternal rules. Many religions have holy books but they do not claim to be the Word of God.
If you’re interested in Christianity because you’re curious about what it has to offer, this may sound like a good thing—but it isn’t! When we take away that one essential element—that our faith and hope rest upon Christ alone—then we’ve taken away everything else that makes us different from any other religion on Earth!
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage and why?
The Bible is a collection of books. The first five books are called the Pentateuch, which means “five scrolls,” and they were written by Moses. These books tell us what happened in the beginning of time, before there was any life on earth.
The next 39 books in the Old Testament were written by many different prophets and historians who lived during different times throughout Israel’s history: Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah…etcetera. They talk about important events like wars or famines that happened back then (over 3,500 years ago!).
There are 27 books in the New Testament—these were also written by different people at different times (over 2,000 years ago), but they tell us more about Jesus Christ than anything else!
Asking questions is the best way to learn.
Asking questions is the best way to learn.
Asking questions helps you understand the world around you.
Asking questions helps you understand yourself and other people better, too.
Questions help us understand the world’s challenges and problems, too!
As you can see, it’s easy to make a pastor laugh. What are some of your favorite funny questions to ask a pastor? Let us know in the comments below!
deep questions to ask pastors
- What is one great thing about your week?
- What was one difficult thing about your week?
- Who is an inspirational person in your life?
- What are you learning about yourself lately?
- What’s one thing you are looking forward to this month?
- If you could go somewhere to get away, where would you go?
- If you could change one thing in your life right now, what would it be?
- What’s one time when you knew God was working in your life?
- How can I pray for you this week?
- What is the hardest thing about this season of your life?
- How do you stay connected to God throughout the week?
- What could you do to connect with God more?
- What has God has been teaching you lately?
- What’s one thing that makes you anxious?
- What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
- What’s the biggest struggle in your life right now?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Who are you closest to in your family?
- Where do go where you feel the most at peace?
- If you had the whole weekend off, what would you do?
- What is your dream job?
- What’s one cause or injustice in the world you wish you could fix?
- How many places have you lived throughout your life?
- When did you first know there was a God?
- When in your life did you feel closest to God?
- What makes you feel most connected to God?
- How do you balance all the priorities in your life?
- When have you felt the farthest away from God?
- What is one thing you’ve done that you are really proud of?
- What’s one goal you set that you achieved – even if it was in childhood?
- What are the qualities you appreciate in your closest friends?
- Where are you most aware of God’s presence? (in nature, with people, in quiet, etc.)
- What is your dream vacation?
hardest questions to ask a pastor
In some professions, questions about love and life just come with the territory. Hairdressers and cab drivers spend a lot of time listening. So do United Methodist pastors, who often get questions after worship on a Sunday morning, from a phone call on a Tuesday afternoon, or across the table at a church dinner. Some queries are straightforward, but others are far more difficult to address. And, unlike the hairdresser and the cabbie, pastors and their congregants may feel like a clergyperson should have clear answers and advice.
To explore this topic more thoroughly, we asked a group of United Methodist pastors to share the five most challenging questions they receive.
The Rev. Dennis Crump teaches at Lindsey Wilson College and is a United Methodist pastor in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dennis Crump.
5. Out of the mouths of babes
Some of the toughest questions pastors receive come from the youngest members of their congregations.
The Rev. Dennis Crump, adjunct faculty member at Lindsey Wilson College and a United Methodist pastor in Kentucky, tells us his then 8-year-old son asked, “Can the devil get saved?”
Having a conversation about possible limitations to the grace of God with a child might seem daunting.
“After a few pensive moments and some discussion,” Crump shared, “We concluded that [the devil] probably cannot get saved in the same way that we can because he has no capacity for saving faith. … However, in the mind of God, there may yet be a way?”
4. Right or wrong?
Speaking of God’s grace, pastors are sometimes asked about offering grace toward those with whom we disagree. Topics in the news generate questions about responding to those with a different point of view.
The Rev. Mark Walus, a bi-vocational pastor of Monroeville (Indiana) United Methodist Church and a computer consultant, shared the story of an older teen who approached him after worship and asked: “My friend from school is gay. What should I do?”
Pastor Mark shared a quick message of grace and love, and then invited this youth to come for a deeper conversation than was possible at the door of the church.
The Rev. Lilla Lakatos is a pastor in Hungary. She says, “A good question can help much more than a good answer.” Photo courtesy of The Rev. Lilla Lakatos.
3. How can we …?
Those larger issues are often on the minds of congregants.
The Rev. Greg Milinovich, pastor of Catawissa Avenue United Methodist Church in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, says, “The hardest questions I get as a pastor are the practical how-to questions in which people are looking for easy program solutions to what are often societal, cultural, and relational problems.”
When someone asks, “How can we better reach the troubled youth in our neighborhood?” he confesses he doesn’t have an answer. Pastor Greg is getting more comfortable saying, “I don’t know,” because it offers an opportunity for the pastor and congregant to explore solutions together.
The Rev. Lilla Lakatos, who has pastored in Óbuda, Dombóvár, Szeged, and Alsózsolca, Hungary added, “I have the strong conviction that we don’t need to answer all the questions. A good question can help much more than a good answer.”
2. Unasked questions
Sometimes there are questions that pastors wish they were asked.
The Rev. Sharon Harris, pastor of the Hopewell, Pine Grove, and Kinder First United Methodist Churches in Louisiana, was once asked by a member of another church, “Why does my pastor preach that [Christians who do certain things are] going to hell even though they were ‘once saved, always saved’?”
Pastors would rather not talk about the ministries of others but instead seize the opportunity to talk about United Methodist distinctives such as sanctification, the process of growing toward Christian perfection.
The Rev. Darryl Stephens, an adjunct professor at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, is glad when questions like this surface.
“I think some of the hardest questions,” Stephens continues, “are the ones pastors never get. For example, countering the rampant culture of ‘everything happens for a reason’ mentality that skips over the really difficult questions of theodicy,” the seminary word for why bad things happen to good people.
Which leads us to the question pastors almost universally agree is the most difficult one…
The Rev. John Partridge, pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church of Perry Heights in Ohio, was asked, “Why do people die young?” after an untimely death in his congregation.
The Rev. Carl Chamberlain, pastor and resident theologian at Amsterdam United Methodist Church in New York, and a former spiritual care coordinator for hospice and palliative care, said the hardest questions he receives are ones like, “Why does God allow cancer, poverty, hunger, war, natural disaster, or any of the other evils we experience?”
The Rev. Bev Hall is a pastor in Ohio. She recalls once performing a funeral for a mother and child who died during childbirth, and the husband and father asked her, “Why would God do this to my family?” Photo courtesy of the Rev. Bev Hall.
Pastor Lakatos of Hungary was asked why God wasn’t answering a couple’s prayers for jobs.
The Rev. Bev Hall, pastor at Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church of Ohio, told us about performing the funeral for a mother and child who died during childbirth, and being asked by the husband and father, “Why would God do this to my family?”
The Rev. Stefan Pfister, a 20-year-veteran of pastoral ministry currently serving in Davos, Switzerland, and a mentor to young pastors in Cambodia, sums it up well.
“The ‘why question’ is probably the most difficult one,” he reports. While he longs for the proper response, he has become more comfortable saying he does not know.
While ministering to a family after a suicide, Pfister says, “I tried to answer some questions — although I know that all my explanations were just a small part of the whole reality. And this made me realize: There are no easy answers to tough questions. Many things I just do not know. I only know a very small piece of a big picture.”