The purpose of an Executive Pastor

This is probably the clearest I’ve got it so far, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while. The purpose of an Executive Pastor is to:

  1. Help the Team Leader ‘lead’.
  2. Support the Team as it ‘teams’.
  3. Keep gospel work absolutely central.

If an Executive Pastor plays a special role for the church, it is primarily helping the Senior Pastor as they “lead”. And right there you have to stop, because every SP is different with different skills, strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. As such, a good EP will “shadow” their SP and try to take on whatever takes up most of their SP’s energy. Thus no two EPs will be the same. (That said, some common EP responsibilities are; facilities oversight and management, strategic planning, resource management, financial management, policies, insurance, legal, IT, communications, calendar oversight, vendor relations, fundraising, etc.)

But the SP is not the only thing they help manage. The EP plays an important role in keeping the SP’s team to keep on being a team, to keep being on track. Again, since each SP and each Team is different, this will look like various things. One common aspect is to see what’s sapping the team’s energy most and trying to put things in place to offset that. (E.g. If all your team is exhausting themselves with IT issues, don’t wait for them all to fix it themselves, get someone to come in and help everyone. If they’re all struggling to keep organised, develop a system that will help them not hinder them.)

However, the last aspect of an EP’s role is the most important. It’s keeping the gospel work as the priority while they do the things around it. I’ve heard stories of Church Managers who have crippled their church staff with red-tape, policies and procedures to such an extent that the staff do less people work… they all become servants of the EP. But that’s the wrong way around. The EP is always a servant of the gospel and a slave of the team.

A great picture of this is Stephen in Acts 6. The Apostles can’t keep up with the logistic activity of food distribution, so to keep focused on gospel work and prayer they appoint people like Stephen… who then goes and preaches, gets arrested and martyred. Now that’s a good EP!

Aside: When is it an Executive Pastor, General Manager, Administrative Leader, etc?
We’ve made the decision that a large part of my responsibilities is to prayerfully pastor people and speak into pastoral situations in an executive (high-level) manner. I’d suggest that if an Exec Pastor is not preaching or playing a key role in high-level pastoral decisions, they might be better titled “General Manager” or “Executive Director”.

Reblog – Housework ministry

A church is a lot like a household (at least that’s one of the illustrations used the bible).

And a house needs a lot of work to work. Its not all fun and games, its not all dinners with friends or board games. It requires baking, shopping, cooking, cleaning, planning, dealing with unexpected issues.

I’m not saying these “church housework” things should become the focus – not at all. But they’re just as valuable as the focus things – because they exist for the sake of the focus things.

The danger is (on one hand) the person who says that these things aren’t important and should be ignored. And on the other hand, its a danger to say that these things need to be perfect, such that they become the focus.

I wonder how the people who express such extreemes run their own households? Maybe they’re just completely unaware of how much housework goes on for their little paradise to exist? Or maybe they never feel the housework is done “enough” to enjoy their household?

Facilities and facilitators need to know their place

I’m part of this crowd so I can say it. I spend about 80% of my time facilitating more gospel work. That means I build roads, equipment, and supply lines for the armies of gospel workers in our staff and in our church.
But a road to the wrong place is a waste of my efforts and ends up hindering, rather than helping, gospel work.
This is why facilitators, like me, need to know our place. We need to keep our team’s priorities our priorities. We need to give them the veto, the free ride, the non-kosher process, the work-around.
Because, we’re facilitators. We facilitate what they have decided they need to do.
We might offer advice and suggest problems with their plans, and how it’s going to make things hard for everyone else… (That’s our job too).
But in the end, the bloke shooting the rifle has a better idea where the enemy is that the bloke up in HQ. Support him, feed him, and for the gospel’s sake, listen to him!!