Pastoral Staff Meetings

To build teamwork, communicate, renew vision, trust our Lord
together, be reminded, and have fun

Regularity: Weekly when possible
Leader: Senior or lead pastor or someone he designates
Presuppositions or hopes:
… same time each week.
… includes lunch or some kind of eating together. Starts with that.
… 90 minutes maximum.
… mandatory.
… time for cheerleading and team spirit, not for criticism of anybody
… includes scripture and prayer.
… singing when possible.
… if senior does not lead the details, at least gives a thank you and
… early in the week.
… informal format but clearly planned.
… in a larger staff, they mix! Meaning they don’t sit by departments all the time.
… associates and other leaders help with school spirit!

Good format:
Eating together

Prayer and thanks

News from each department or person; good news about people or goals

Special challenges or needs from each department or person. Prayer for that.

Pastor’s update on board issues and/or sermon coming up. (Healthy for staff to have appropriate communication and be in the know.)
Once a month, with all part-time staff in a larger setting, the pastor gives a brief explanation of a philosophy or goal of the church.

Prayer (in larger staff, in groups of 4-5 using the P-R-A-Y formula so all

Challenge for any immediate event or emphasis where all are needed

Suggested seven-minute talk (yes, seven minutes) — one person a week and then for any new staff when they join: “The Ten Biggest Decisions or Events of My Life” — one person each week. When they are done everyone will know them better and even understand why they are what they are.

Executive Pastor On Large Church Staff

Every situation is different, a little, but there are some advantages to a
strong team joining the lead pastor to form the “office of the executive
pastor” instead of having one person do that.

Senior or lead pastor: the leader of staff, the pastor-in-chief, the CEO of the church and staff.

Executive pastor: often the co-leader of staff, the vice-president, the COO of the church and staff.

The board: hopefully they are overseers who care for the boundaries of the church (see“The Soccer Field” papers) and allow the staff to “play on the infield.” They call and review the senior pastor, who leads and reviews (or has a system for this)_ the others on the staff.

They could be listed first here, because the senior pastor reports to them.

Administrative pastor or director of administration: often the leader of the financial and facilities side of the ministries and church.

Associate or senior associate pastors: others who lead ministries and have a segment of the ministries as their responsibility. In a large church each will have assistant pastors and directors of areas of ministry reporting to them.
Three main options for the role and duties of the executive

1. Executive or senior associate pastor.

+ It is clear who manages the ministries at the direction of the senior.

+ If this person is loyal to the senior and understands the enabling role, this can work well.

– Sometimes the senior loses touch with staff, by “moving upstairs,” and there is a different mood and direction, sometimes even without the senior’s realization.

– There can be bottleneck at this one person’s desk, and lack of synergy and the creativity and chemistry that can come with a stronger and larger team approach to leadership thinking.

– Sometimes the person who is good at the “executive” role is not built with a “pastor’s heart,” and is just a good manager or executive,  therefore hurting themood and ministry.

2. Three or four associate pastors or senior associates who join with the senior pastor to be the leadership team

+ More staff leaders own the leadership visions and dreams. Closer to “a multitude of counselors.”

+ With four or five on the dream-and-envision-and-assign team, there is more creativity and perspective. This is enhanced when one or more on this leadership team (I simply called ours “ETeam”) are women.

+ The same people who join the senior pastor to dream and envision with him will be the ones to carry it out in their areas of ministry. They will not be one step separated from the development of the goals. All of the reports on staff, even a very large one, come under the responsibilities of the members of this team.

+ One of the members can be the worship pastor, who usually has strong influence on the mood and direction of the church — if that person is more than an artist.

+ One of the members of this team can be a director over finances and facilities, which are always involved in dreams and plans for the church — but only if that administrative leader is not a “bean-counter” who cannot pray and dream well.

+ One of these senior associates or associates can still be the #2 person, and known as such, “first among equals” among the associates. This can help in carrying out plans. (Sometimes this person is called the senior associate pastor and the others the associate pastors. Some of us think the title “executive pastor” can be perceived as more executive

–colder in one way — than pastoral — warmer.)

– There are more than two people to make the meeting and to spend the time.

– There can be negative feelings of others on staff because they are not asked to be on this leadership team.

– There can be more arguments or pushback to the senior because there are more people to do that (though I think this is an advantage, to consider all angles).

– Sometimes there are not three or four other strong leaders-dreamers on the staff (though perhaps this calls for the development of them).

3. Everyone reports to the senior pastor or, in some churches,
to the board.

+ This is the way it should be (reporting to the pastor) when there are one or four or five others on the staff.

+ The leadership plan is clear and simple.

– If there are more than four reporting to the senior pastor, he has too
many reports.

– If any staff other than the pastor reports to the board, count on
confusion and frustration. All staff must report to the leader who is there
with them every day and giving his life and heart to this church in a loving
and careful way.

Basic Ingredients for Strong Staff Teams

Basic Ingredients for Strong Staff Teams

as picked up over the years

by talking to many senior pastors and staff members

You decide, but this is more than friends operating together.



A.     The senior or lead pastor

1.       Both the senior pastor and the person reporting have a discipleship group of either all men or all women, depending on which one they are! J Continue reading “Basic Ingredients for Strong Staff Teams”



  •   Networking with other pastors in large churches.
  •   Always looking and mixing at district and national conference. Write down names when meet a vibrant church staff person even when you do not need one.
  •  Not going to placement services (too many names).
  •  Not talking to senior pastors who are not doing well but think they would do well on a staff.

Continue reading “HOW TO FIND GOOD STAFF”

The Senior Leader’s “Reports” and “Cabinet”

The_Senior_Leader’s  Download
Thoughts on who and how many should report to the president or CEO of a ministry or senior pastor of a church. Based on 43 years of experience, reading, coaching others, and trends


1. Every organization should have a reporting flowchart that shows towhom everyone reports, and all directions flow upward to the senior (and no one else, except for possible dotted lines for communication). Continue reading “The Senior Leader’s “Reports” and “Cabinet””

Disciple Accountability Group (DAG)

These are guideline questions based on scripture verses, for DAG groups of 3 to 7 men or 3 to 7 women. They are about either the church or character.

True discipleship involves TLC –Time together, Love, and Content of the scripture that meets the heart.

They are meant for a two-year schedule, with the group meeting twice a month at least, with some of the subjects taking two weeks instead of one.

They are clearly meant for all men or all women, and not more than seven.

After two years new groups can start out of the group as new people are added. Then they go through the same questions, because they never get old.