Why is This Important?
All God’s people are called to encourage, teach and be examples to one another of living in every area of our lives for the glory of God. Interviews are a powerful and personal way to hear about what following Jesus looks like in real life. Done well, interviews are an engaging and relational way to provide concrete examples of how to think and act as godly people living for God’s glory.
How Interviews Get Planned
Normally, topics for interviews are organised by the staff team who have some insight into life issues and sermon tangents that may make for potential interview topics. Suggestions are welcome! Likewise identifying and lining up potential interviewees is normally instigated by the staff team.
Your Role as Interviewer
What makes an interview an interview?
Interviews should be more structured and intentional than an unrehearsed chat between two strangers. The conversation should focus on a topic to which the interviewee has given some thought and preparation. It should have a clear goal.
Interviews should be less structured than a sermon or monologue. No notes or visual aids. Answers should be short. Questions even shorter. Do not give your exact questions to the interviewee ahead of time or the interview just becomes a set of pre-prepared short talks. The dynamic of a back-and-forth relationship will be lost.
Before Sunday – Meet with the Interviewee
Some people find being interviewed a new and daunting experience. Others feel they have lots to say and given the opportunity will talk and talk. It is important that you meet with your interviewee well in advance of Sunday and wisely assess what kind of help they need.
- Contact the interviewee a week before the scheduled interview.
- Clarify the topic and talk with them to gain an understanding of what the interviewee will say and how they will say it. Offer some guidance on what things from their sharing should be emphasised and what things could be avoided as less relevant.
- Give them a sense of the topics you will be asking about, but don’t provide the exact wording.
- At the end of the meeting, check how the interviewee is feeling about being interviewed and whether anything in the process needs to be clarified. This may involve giving them specific questions if that would help ease nerves. Remind them about the 10:15am huddle on Sunday.
Before Sunday – Prepare Yourself
- Prepare 3-4 short and clear questions. (The interview slot should aim to go for a maximum of 5 minutes. One minute per answer is a good goal.)
- Shape questions to bring out the topic you have discussed beforehand. (Never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer.)
- Prepare a crisp introduction. Something like: “Hi, my name is Lucy. We want to be a church family where we share what it looks like to follow Jesus in the day to day. So today we are going to hear from Errol”. There is usually no need to introduce the topic itself, the interview itself will do that.
On the Day
- Sort out microphones with the AV team.
- Be at the pre-church huddle at 10:15am.
- At the start of the interview, set a warm and welcoming tone. Ensure your interviewee is standing in front of the microphone and can be seen (not hidden behind a drum kit or lectern).
- Introduction. Ask your questions. Have a definitive end: thank the interviewee and sit down.
- Listen with empathy, warm eye contact and engaged body language.
- Don’t turn away from the mic to look at the person when you ask your question. Use a handheld mic or position your body so you can look at the person and still speak into the mic.
- Be prepared with prompting questions only if the interviewee gets stuck. “Errol, when we spoke earlier you mentioned your pet rabbit…”
- Be prepared to jump in with the next question if things go long.
- Avoid wherever possible correcting or supplementing answers. It usually won’t help but just make things more uncomfortable.
An Interview Template
Unless indicated otherwise (usually through Elvanto), the standard questions for a Scots interview are:
- What has been difficult/a joy about being a Christian lately?
- How has God been growing you as a Christian?
(there is scope for these question to be tweaked for personal preference)
Generally, there are 3 interviews each month. So you may be scheduled once every 4-6 weeks. But you are free to indicate how regularly you would like to be scheduled as the interviewer.
The Platform Coordinator appointed for that Sunday deals with dropouts. If you can’t make it please don’t organise your own replacement. Decline in Elvanto and the Co-ordinator will sort it out.