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What Your Staff Is Really Saying About You


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.

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Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources ( 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.

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