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October 19, 2020
Quick—who is the most important person on a church staff?
The answer depends on who you ask. (But the correct answer is obviously Preschool Director—how do they do it?) There’s no question that every person on a church team is valuable and needed.
Then why is it that not everyone who works at a church always feels valued or appreciated? There are a host of reasons for that—from unclear communication to unhealthy team culture. But there’s one solution that can make any church team stronger and more efficient.
Of course, I’m talking about a good Executive Pastor.
This crucial leadership role has the opportunity to get the most out of a team and drive a church’s growth from within. But what is an Executive Pastor and how can your church get one?
Consider this your guide to Executive Pastors.
An Executive Pastor generally oversees a church’s administration, finance, staff, and operations. Think of them as a specialized CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and COO (Chief Operations Officer)—plus a few other things rolled into one.
Although it depends on a church’s organization, the Executive Pastor is usually one of the highest-ranking leaders within a church, just behind the Senior or Lead Pastor. Their main responsibility is overseeing the administration of the church.
Churches are often understaffed, with team members who are overworked. So there’s always a need for another person in leadership. However, an Executive Pastor is not always the first hire made within the church. Because not all church teams require one—at least at first.
So why would your church need an Executive Pastor? How are you sure when you’re ready to hire one? What are some reasons why you should even bother creating this position on your team?
These are just a few advantages to adding an Executive Pastor to your church team. Because this is such an important role, it’s crucial you find the right person.
So what are the characteristics and executive pastor skills to look for in a potential Executive Pastor?
The role of the Executive Pastor depends on the church and who else is on staff. An Executive Pastor might oversee an entire team, or be a team of one. There are generally a set of responsibilities that fall under the purview of most Executive Pastors.
Before you start a search for an Executive Pastor, it’s smart to write out a job description with everything you’d like for them to do. This will serve as a guide during the hiring process and a good onboarding tool to get your new church leader moving in the right direction.
There’s quite a bit to keep in mind when searching for an Executive Pastor at your church. As with everything else, this depends on your church’s needs and existing staff. However, there are still some common things to keep in mind when hiring for this leadership position.
Most importantly, take your time when looking for an Executive Pastor. Wait to find the right person. There may be a lot of gaps that aren’t being handled while you wait. But it’s easier to be patient for the right fit than it is to fire the wrong person and start the search process all over again.
Because of the high level of leadership and wide range of responsibilities, a good Executive Pastor needs quite a few skills in their toolkit. Some of the best characteristics an Executive Pastor should have include:
All of these skills are important, and you’d like to find someone with experience in several of these areas. But remember, it’s more crucial to find someone who is a good cultural and personality fit that has the capacity to learn some of these skills on the job.
Maybe you’re not a church looking for an Executive Pastor; perhaps you’re an up-and-coming church leader who would like to land a gig with this title. Which is great, because plenty of churches need more great leaders like you.
But how do you get started? Where can you look for open Executive Pastor positions? And how do you prepare yourself to become a church’s Executive Pastor? Here are a few tips.
Whether you’re hiring an executive pastor or striving to become one yourself, I pray this guide helped you along the way. If you’re interested in knowing suggested guidelines for an executive pastor’s salary, please download the church Staff Salary Guide: A Short Guide On How Much To Pay Your Staff or check out this blog post for additional information.
ps. Watch this interview on the role of an executive pastor with Frank Barry, COO at Tithe.ly and Dave Blough, XP at Wintonbury Church.