I’ve spent the last year in a new position in the local church as an Executive Pastor. One of the things our Lead Pastor and I constantly talk through is “Should you do that or should I do that?” The question is really bigger than dividing labor or delegating, it’s pressing into the center of that other, much bigger question:
“What should I be doing today that only I can do?”
As a Senior Pastor, your position comes with a unique set of challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities. I’ve really come to believe that there is a core set of things that you have to do. And there’s a very real danger that you could spend your hours doing things that aren’t making the most impact. You could spend your hours on endless amounts of things that you just should not be doing. If you’re 5’ 9’’, 35 years old, and spending most of your nights shooting for an hour still dreaming about the NBA, I come to be the bearer of bad news- it’s never going to happen. Just stop.
Some of you are spending hours on stuff that just doesn’t matter, and you’re missing all the stuff that matters most.
That challenge is to capture every piece of time, energy, and gifting that you have and leverage it in the best way possible to make the biggest impact possible for the mission!
You can do that today.
If you’re a senior pastor, here is my humble suggestion of 5 things that only you can do.
Hear from God and see the future.
There’s only one person who leads your church. It is God’s church, right? So how do you know what decisions your church needs to make? Too many of us make too many decisions without hearing from the CEO. Where to go? What’s next? Vision is a picture of the future. Senior Pastor, you’re the one that responsibility rests on. You’re the one who needs to hear from God (CEO) and see the future. It can only be you. You need to value that time with God, hearing from God is the single most important thing in your schedule. Don’t miss it! Don’t blow it off! Hear from God and see the future! You’re the only one that can do that!
Be present and known.
In most churches there’s only one Senior Pastor. Nobody is you and nobody can try and be you. You most likely know this because you probably adjust your office hours, or guard your contact info because it’s not the secretary or your worship pastor that everybody wants to talk to, it’s you. You’re the Senior Pastor. Don’t mourn that leverage it.
You can be intentional with your presence. Show up places to support your staff. Take people to lunch and just hang out with them. Be intentional with letting some people know you. Only you can do that. Show up unexpectedly when a volunteer is putting on an event. Volunteer in the kid's ministry. Not because you’re the best at it, but because your presence communicates value. You’re the only one who can do that!
Teach what needs to be taught.
You’re the Senior Pastor so you need to be teaching. Your church needs to see you standing in front and leading the way. Most of you already get that but that 2nd part is what I’d love to press into.
I intentionally didn’t just put “teaching” here because that’s not the whole picture. Sure, you can grab some series from North Point or Life.church and the content will be incredible, but maybe that’s not what needs to be taught. Don’t just teach, teach what needs to be taught! That means you need to know what needs to be taught.
Pastor high capacity donors.
Every church has a plan for spending money. You have salaries, ministries, buildings, etc. We could spend a lot of time on how you spend that money, but that’s for another article. What is your plan for making money? For most churches their plan is to “get more people to come to church.” That’s no doubt part of it, but ask yourself: How are you going to get from here (where you are) to there (where you want to be?) If you don’t have a plan, get in a room with the right people and get one. Ask this question: How are we going to increase revenue so we have more money for ministry? There are tons of ways to attack that, but here’s one thing that needs to be a part that only you can do: Pastor high capacity donors.
People with the gift of wealth, it really is a gift, need to be pastored just like any other segment of people. We do great when we think about age divisions, but we don’t think often about segmenting the high capacity donors and intentionally pastoring them. What if you did? The Senior Pastor is the only one who can do that. It has to be you. Be intentional with your relationships and pastor these people. Just so we’re clear, you’re not pastoring them to get their money. You’re pastoring them so that you can help them live like Jesus and help them figure out why they were even put on the planet. We know that as people have their hearts tied to Jesus, their money will follow. Pastor, only you can do that!
Lead the board.
You should be leading your board like you would lead your best staff. Too many churches have a board of successful businessmen, or people who have been at the church for 30 years, but they don’t really get it. They haven’t caught the vision or they are really not on the same page. So what happens is tension. Arguments. You go to board meetings feeling like you need to “sell” them on this new project or ministry. You have to Lead them. Pastor them! Give them books. Take them to conferences. Hang out one-on-one with them. Do a Bible Study together. Draw them into the mission of your church so they wake up at night dreaming about what could be. Senior Pastor, only you can do that!
So What's Next?
Feel like your church should be growing, but it's not?
Ultimately, church growth is up to God. Are we being good stewards of what He's given us? Are we doing everything we can to ensure our church is healthy? How do we overcome the barriers we feel are in front of us?
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