What Your Staff Is Really Saying About You

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What senior pastors and staff really expect from one another.

After about a quarter of a century of church consultations, I have dealt with a plethora of church staff matters. I continue to hear many of the same themes since I left church consultation.

First, I present the top 10 issues from the senior pastor’s perspective and then also offer 10 issues from the church staff perspective. My desire in writing is to offer a positive framework, and to allow church staff today, and pastors on Saturday, to have the best possible work relationships.

The top 10 issues from the senior pastor’s perspective:

1. Have a strong work ethic.

This encouragement expressed by pastors about the staff was pervasive.

2. Be loyal.

Pastors do not expect blind loyalty, but they do want to know that the staff member has his back.

3. Execute well.

It’s great if the staff member is full of ideas and dreams, but he or she should also be excellent at accomplishing a task.

4. Work on personality chemistry.

Sometimes, the chemistry is just not good. Most pastors understand that this issue is two-way, and both parties need to work at liking each other.

5. Same vision.

Make certain that any vision you may have at the church complements and does not conflict with the vision of the pastor.

Thom Rainer Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.

More from Thom Rainer or visit Thom at http://www.thomrainer.com

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  • Britton Wesson

    I would add that the staff members know that the pastor has their back.

    • Chris

      That’s in the list, friend.

      • Britton Wesson

        Yep. Totally missed it.

  • scott

    I’ve found after several years in ministry under a senior pastor (for a couple different churches) that pastors are TERRIBLE at communicating outside of the pulpit. I’m amazed at how slowly pastors respond to calls, texts and emails. Sometimes they don’t ever respond. Please pastors, COMMUNICATE OFTEN and RESPOND to your staff. They need to know you are there to help make their ministry work.

  • Steven N Kyong Stepp

    What do you do if you are on staff with a church where the senior pastor has no vision?

    • Kelly Smith

      It is in the list, do the job you were brought in to do. Secondly, pray for your Pastor and trust that God answers prayers.

  • just an observation

    I have a question.perhaps paul as a master buider could phrase it better. There are 5 ministries not one all tailor trained and created by God for a purpose. Ministers are gifts to the Body by God himself and as such should be supported by the body supporting one another. Well perhaps apostolicteaching.net could explain it better at least this article anyway.( 99.9 % of pastors don’t get this) is the article. The bible defines what believers will experience and do. This is very different from the majority of professing Christians in America. perhaps this man who traveled with dereck prince has a point. The mission of the ministry is to equip and mature the saints so when they stand before the Lord. He may see scriptures that state the evidence of a Son led of the Spirit by examining our life. As such whoever is running the church is more accountable as the bible puts it. This should bring a Godly fear to any minister as what did not get done may have eternal effects and consequences.


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