21 Questions I’ve Been Asking (Myself) Lately

Several of you will find these questions familiar, but their familiarity does not minimize the piercing factor for this pastor.  I wanted to put them out there in case others might find them helpful.

1.  If our church would cease to exist in our city, would it be noticed and missed?

2.  If all the pastors were tragically killed in a car accident, would the church’s ministry cease or fall apart?

3.  If the only possible means of connecting with unbelievers were through the missionary living of our church members, how much would we grow? (I ask this because the early church did not have signs, websites, ads, marketing, etc.)

4.  What are the subcultures within the church?  Do they attract or detract from the centrality of the gospel and mission of the church?

5.  Is our church known more for what we are not/against than what we are/for?

6.  What are we allowing to be our measuring stick of church health? (attendance vs. discipleship; seating capacity vs. sending capacity; gospel growth, training on mission, etc.)

7.  Are the priorities of our church in line with the priorities of Christ’s kingdom?

8.  If our members had 60 seconds to explain to an unbeliever what our church is like, what would you want them to say?  How many do you think are saying that?

9.  If the invisible kingdom of God became visible in our city, what would that look like?

10.  In what ways have we acted or planned in unbelief instead of faith?

11.  As a pastor, is my time spent more in fixing people’s problems or helping people progress in faith through training/equipping them for ministry?

12.  Are the people we are reaching more religious or pagan?

13.  What can we learn about our evangelism practices by the kind of people are being reached with the gospel?

14.  What will it take to reach those in our city who are far from God and have no access to the gospel?

15.  What percentage of our growth is conversion growth (vs. transfer growth)?

16.  How many people know and are discharging their spiritual gifts in active service and building up of the body of Christ?

17.  How many people do I know (and more importantly know me) on a first name basis in my community and city who do not attend our church?

18.  Am I using people to get ministry done, or am I using ministry to get people “done”?

19.  Is the vision we are casting forth honoring both God’s heart for the lost (builder) and God’s passion for a pure church (perfecter)?

20. If money and space were not an issue, what is one thing we ought to dream for God to do in our midst where it is impossible for anyone to get the credit except for the omnipotent hand of God?

21.  If being a church planting church is comprised of disciple-making disciples, then how are we doing?

Got any other questions that you could add?  Please pass them along!

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33 Comments on “21 Questions I’ve Been Asking (Myself) Lately”

  1. Darryl Says:

    Great questions. Just sent them to our elders. Thanks!

  2. Bill Says:

    I’m curious, why did you include “If money and space were not an issue,” in number 20?

    Great questions!

  3. Jon Elliff Says:

    Thanks brother, these questions are great: I tweeted them – thanks also for your kind words on my fb wall yesterday. Your thoughtful, articulate posts here are a great encouragement to me and greatly benefit the kingdom! I am certain your personal ministry surpasses. Grace and Peace!

  4. benarbour03 Says:

    Thanks for these questions, Timmy. I plan to wrestle with them, or rather let God wrestle me by agency of the questions.


  5. […] an addendum, I have proposed 21 questions for myself regarding our church that I’d like to pass along to you.  They are questions that have been […]


  6. Question number 20 is not the only good question, but it stuck out to me.


  7. […] Brister has 21 questions every Church needs to […]

  8. G F McDowell Says:

    Timmy, I’d like to respectfully suggest that a strong desire for question #1 prominence in the community is what the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary had in mind, and why they so quickly capitulated to liberalism. We should not be after prestige or respectability in the community. We shouldn’t be out to be infamous, either.

  9. G F McDowell Says:

    re: Question 1, I suppose I would wonder, noticed and missed by whom?


  10. […] thoughtful questions here from Timmy Brister for pastors and elders to ask themselves about their church and […]

  11. dheagle93 Says:

    Well….just to be fair to you and let you know, I’m going to copy and paste these questions into a document that I’m going to give to our deacons and long-range planning committee here and have them wrestle with this as well.

    I think that these questions are worth wrestling with. Probably not just the short answers, but the ‘why’ behind those answers…for example, why would _____ notice our church was gone? Would the community rejoice that we were gone or weep?

  12. Allen Mickle Says:

    Very thoughtful questions Tim. My pastoral apprentice and I will be talking through them in the coming weeks!

  13. Dave Hintz Says:

    Can someone explain to me question 18, I am not quite sure what it’s asking.


    • Sure. Often times ministry has to do with filling gaps in programs or meeting a ministry need, so people are asked to get the ministry done where it is lacking. Therefore, people become a means to an end, and their work is seen primarily as volunteers.

      When ministry is used to get people “done,” I am saying that the primary goal of ministry is not to fulfill a function but to train people and cultivate Christ-likeness. The main issue is not the ministry itself but the people. Ministry becomes the means and an investment into the lives of the people you are hoping to train, develop, and cultivate for gospel growth and kingdom impact.

      When I began ministering as a pastor 8 years ago, I was very guilty of the former. The result was a lot of people being “used” for a period of time until they experienced burnout, and someone else filed the gap and went until they were spent. The ministry was oriented around a program, not the people God had entrusted me to lead and train.

  14. Thom Bullock Says:

    For those uncomfortable with the first question, perhaps “if all of our church members vanished from the city…” might make the same point.

  15. Leslie Says:

    These are very insightful and helpful questions. The church plant that I’m part of in Midtown Kansas City have been asking some of these same things. Thanks for the post!


  16. […] 21 Questions I’ve Been Asking (Myself) Lately « Provocations & Pantings. […]


  17. […] Great Church Questions Some great questions here for your church from Timmy […]

  18. al bain Says:

    Very very helpful. Thanks.


  19. […] to Help Your Grip (2.24.10) 23 02 2010 Timmy Brister lists 21 questions he’s been asking himself as a pastor.  Here are […]

  20. Phil S Says:

    I would suggest a change to number 8. Given sixty seconds, how many of the church’s members could give an accurate, concise, dynamic presentation of the gospel? Good as your church is, if the centrality of the message can’t be communicated by the members, it’s fluff.


    • Phil,

      For clarification, we do ask that of all our members. It is inherent within our membership process. In fact, question 8 was spawned off the question regarding explaining the gospel in 60 seconds. What I’m referring to in that question is core values/practices which, in our church, number one is the gospel. Hope that helps.


  21. […] Feb 24, 2010 Questions for Your Church Posted by donaldkim under Church Leave a Comment  These are some good questions from Timmy Brister: 1.  If our church would cease to exist in our city, would it be noticed and missed?2.  If all the pastors were tragically killed in a car accident, would the church’s ministry cease or fall apart?3.  If the only possible means of connecting with unbelievers were through the missionary living of our church members, how much would we grow? (I ask this because the early church did not have signs, websites, ads, marketing, etc.)4.  What are the subcultures within the church?  Do they attract or detract from the centrality of the gospel and mission of the church?5.  Is our church known more for what we are not/against than what we are/for?6.  What are we allowing to be our measuring stick of church health? (attendance vs. discipleship; seating capacity vs. sending capacity; gospel growth, training on mission, etc.)7.  Are the priorities of our church in line with the priorities of Christ’s kingdom?8.  If our members had 60 seconds to explain to an unbeliever what our church is like, what would you want them to say?  How many do you think are saying that?9.  If the invisible kingdom of God became visible in our city, what would that look like?10.  In what ways have we acted or planned in unbelief instead of faith?[more] […]


  22. […] 21 good questions to ask yourself if you’re a pastor or you care very much about the church. […]


  23. […] Provocations & Pantings and Justin Taylor. Categories: Blogs, Christian Growth, Church, Church Life, Church […]


  24. […] February 25, 2010 · Leave a Comment From Tommy Brister. […]


  25. […] 21 questions for the church […]


  26. […] 21 Questions For Pastors and Church Leaders […]

  27. David Shank Says:

    I appreciate your questions…
    Have you read “The Emotionally Healthy Church” by Peter Scazzero?
    Thanks for being willing to share the challenges His Spirit has given you.


  28. […] 21 Questions to ask about your church and its leaders 22 05 2010 Good questions from Tim Brister. […]


  29. […] another level, here are 21 questions I asked myself earlier this year that seemed to gain a lot of traction with […]


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