What does my Pastor want from me?

Ask a Church Staff Member what they want out of their Lead Pastor, then turn and ask the Lead Pastor what they think their Staff wants out of them and you just might be surprised at the in-congruence of the answers; then again, maybe not. I recently taught a couple of breakouts at a conference where I had the opportunity to interact with a bunch of Ministry Staff Members. Many of them were quick to identify what they were hoping to get out of their Lead Pastor. We were even able to build a quick grocery list of their top frustrations they had with their Lead Pastor. However when the table was turned and I asked the question, “What do you think your Lead Pastor wants from you?” it was easy to see that most Ministry Staff Members haven’t spent much time wrestling through the idea. As a Ministry Staff Member, have you ever stopped to consider that other than keeping numbers going up and to the right and keeping complaints about your ministry to a minimum, that your Pastor may actually be hoping to get more from you than what’s on your job description? You may have never thought about it much…but below are four things that your Pastor is hoping to get from you:

#1 Be a public fan and a private critic

Nothing is worse than being hit by friendly fire, or wounded by those closest to you. Loyalty is big with most Lead Pastors, it should be. That’s why the quickest way to lose the opportunity to privately influence your leader is to not support them publicly. Appropriately disagree all you want behind closed doors, that’s part of the process of getting to good decisions organizationally. But once the decision is made you’ve got to be 100% committed to it. When Church Members (or other Staff Members) complain to you, you cannot respond by saying, “I can see how you feel that way.” You can’t in any way validate their criticism or they’ll think that you agree with them and it will lead to divisiveness in the Church. Someone in the Body will end up saying, “Well I spoke to so and so, who is on Staff and they don’t agree with it either.” When that happens there is division in the Body and the Enemy wins. And by the way, eventually you’ll lose.

#2 Be a vision carrier

I heard Jeff Henderson, one of the North Point Campus Pastors (you can follow him on twitter at @Jeff Henderson), give a talk to a team I was a part of where he said that ,“Most Churches and Organizations never reach their full potential because the vision is somehow relegated to just one person. This limits everything because vision cannot be sustained through only one person. It has to be embraced and carried forward by everyone on the team.” Your Lead Pastor can’t be the only one talking about the vision; they don’t want to be alone in this. Yes, they need to leverage the stage and the weekly gathering of the Church well. But when it comes to casting vision he is looking for you to embrace, own, contextualize, and communicate the vision of the Church in the area of responsibility that has been entrusted into your care. You may not be the vision caster in the Organization, but make no mistake about it, you are a vision caster. A great question to ask yourself daily that will help keep you on task is: “What did I do today to cast vision for the Church?”

#3 Be candid

Without your honest and candid input to the process it’s impossible for your Lead Pastor to make the best decisions possible for the Church. You’ve been called to be a part of the team that you’re on and to fully participate, not to shrink back and watch things go by. As a Ministry Staff Member your Pastor needs you to learn how to speak truth to him in the appropriate style, time, and setting. As a leader it is frustrating to me when the team all stacks hands and says, yes, we’re going after X, whatever X happens to be. Then if X doesn’t work 6 months later, it’s unacceptable for someone to come back and say, “Well I didn’t believe in X 6 months ago and I knew it wasn’t going to work.” In that moment I want to ask, “Where was that input 6 moths ago?” You could have just saved us a lot of time, work, resources, and probably a little pain by being candid on the front end. You’re not being a good team member when you withhold candor.

#4 Be graceful

Lastly, realize that everyone has weaknesses. Contrary to popular belief (or your expectations) your leader isn’t perfect. The reality is the higher you go in leadership and the larger the organization the greater the chance the leaders weaknesses are going to be exposed if they aren’t appropriately staffed to. Just as you desire room to grow as a developing leader, give your Pastor room to grow as well. God’s not done with them yet either.

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17


Does the way you follow your Lead Pastor make having you on the team a joy or a burden?

Posted in Leadership, Staffing

4 Responses to “What does my Pastor want from me?”

  1. Cami Smith March 29, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    In regards to #2, it’s easy to be a carrier of a vision when you are a part of casting it. However, being TOLD to carry a vision by someone else is more challenging.

  2. paul alexander March 29, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Generally speaking I would agree, autocratic leadership can often be a challenging style to serve under. But then again Saul tried to kill David & David still honored & submitted to Saul.

  3. paul alexander March 31, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Hope these posts and conversations continue to challenge you and help you grow as a leader! Thanks for the kind comment!

  4. Jonathan Bjorgen March 31, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Well thought out and written Paul.

    Even with mys limited experience in leadership, I can see every point is right on.

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