Nine Essential Functions of An Executive Pastor

Nine Essential Functions of An Executive Pastor


After serving 34 years as a Worship Pastor (Minister of Music, Associate Pastor of Worship)…the title has changed over the years…God has led me to accept another type of ministry position. The new position is that of Executive Pastor.

For a few years I had sensed that God was preparing me for this type of role. It was evidenced to me by the the variety of ministry experiences God had allowed me to work through and by a passion God has placed in my heart to lead a church staff encouraging, empowering and holding them accountable to do their best.  I shared some of this in a blog post titled:

Knowing God’s Will Through Transition

As I begin to pursue a new ministry position I set out to clarify my thoughts about and functions of an Executive Pastor. Long before I was ever interviewed for this new role I had compiled the following thoughts.

1. Totally Committed to supporting the Senior Pastor (Exodus 17:11)

When Moses' hands grew heavy, they (Arron and Hur) gave him a place to sitand supported his hands. The Executive Pastor should do this for the Senior/Lead Pastor. The Executive Pastor's first role is to support the Senior/Lead Pastor.

2. Freeing the Senior Pastor to Accomplish What He Does Best  (1 Corinthians 12)

Every believer is equipped for ministry and that applies to both the Executive Pastor and Senior/Lead Pastor. It is the role of the Executive Pastor to take things off the plate of the Senior/Lead Pastor so that he can do what he does best. He then becomes a more effective leader.

3. Alignment with Senior Pastor's and Ministry's Core Values (Proverbs 4:20-27)

The Executive Pastor must talk often with the Senior/Lead Pastor to understand his personal core values and what he sees are the organizations core values, mission and vision. The Executive Pastor must then fully support these and communicate them within the organization. The Executive Pastor must also see that all ministries of the church align with the established church core values, mission and vision.

4. Constant Communication...up and down (Luke 9:10-17

Jesus was a great example of constant communication. We see many examples in the Gospels where Jesus was always communication His beliefs to his team (disciples). Jesus was always talking about beliefs and core values (Parables of Jesus (Matthew). The Executive Pastor must follow this example and be one that continuously communicates to the teams of the church.

 In the same way, the Executive Pastor must be willing to listen to staff, volunteers and lay leaders. It would then be his role to pass along the communication points to the Senior/Lead Pastor.

And, the Executive Pastor must ask the Senior/Lead Pastor often: ‘what keeps you awake at night?’ This gives the Senior/Lead Pastor the open door to share and role things off to the Executive Pastor.

5. Understand no one person can carry out the ministry of the church (Exodus 18:13, 18, 21-23)

It seems that no matter the size of the church, there are demands on the Senior/Lead Pastor to carry out tasks that he is really not gifted for. The Executive Pastor helps with this by showing the church the delegation of responsibilities. This also protects the Senior/Lead Pastor from burnout, keeping things off his ‘to-do-list’ that may exhaust him. The Executive Pastor, Senior/Lead Pastor and other staff members then become more efficient and effective in their ministry.

6. Solve Problems (Genesis 41:46-57)

  In this account from scripture we see Joseph making a plan to save food in case of famine, he projected a problem and implemented a solution. One of the roles of the Executive Pastor is to solve problems that may have at one time come across the Senior/Lead Pastor’s desk. The Senior/Lead Pastor must allow this to happen and communicate this to the other staff and church leaders. The Executive Pastor would also seek to mentor staff to make good decisions so that fewer things/decisions were needed to be made at the executive level.

7. Evaluating Ideas (Proverbs 2:6)

The Executive Pastor serves as a sounding board for the Senior/Lead Pastor to evaluate ideas and strategies. The Executive Pastor works with the Senior/Lead Pastor to determine: what needs to be done now, what needs to be considered at a later time and what is not a good idea.

8. Strive for Excellence (Malachi 1:7,8)

A key role for the Executive Pastor and his relationship with the Senior/Lead Pastor is to work together as a team to make sure everything in the organization is done with excellence and that the right people are on the team to make this happen.

9. Pray (Numbers 20:6)

Finally and most important is that the Executive Pastor and Senior/Lead Pastor establish a relationship based on prayer, where they meet regularly together to pray over and for each other, the staff, the church and everyones effectiveness in getting the message of the gospel out to as many as possible. This type of prayer will naturally lead to a friendship between the Executive Pastor and Senior/Lead Pastor beyond a working relationship.


Is there anything that you would add to this list?

an Internal Communication Strategy

an Internal Communication Strategy

Knowing God's Will Through Transition

Knowing God's Will Through Transition