Pastor, there’s always more to do.
Perhaps you should have allocated more time to that current project. BUT, there is only one of you, and you’re not a fictional superhero who can bend the laws of time.
As Lead Pastor, I have two primary responsibilities. Please don’t misunderstand this and erroneously think about how easy I’ve got it. Most people don’t want this burden of responsibility. Without the call and help of God, I’d likely crumble under the pressure.
What are my two main responsibilities? I’ll get to them in about two minutes.
Here’s a foundational word about delegation in effective pastoral leadership. To be the pastor God called me to be, I need to give away as much of the ministry as possible.
Read that last sentence again. Maybe you didn’t understand it. You see, unless you’ve been there or you’re currently there, you really don’t know. To effectively carry out the work of the ministry, you must be willing to delegate as many tasks as possible.
Too often, I’ve been guilty of doing tasks that I should have given away. That’s because I have at times dealt with too much insecurity. Added to that flaw is the perfectionism that comes with my personality bent.
But delegation is not easy! Still, it’s what’s best for the future. Delegation involves recruiting, hiring, asking for help, training, and letting go of the details. Delegating is also how you train future leaders. Through this equipping and empowering process, a wise leader can multiply the effectiveness of the whole organization.
So what are my two main responsibilities as Lead Pastor? I’ll tell you in a moment.
There’s one item that comes before them. I must maintain a right relationship with God. This can’t be delegated. It involves prayer, Bible reading and studying, and growing in my gifts and talents. Without submitting to this character-transforming relationship, I’m not leading myself well. And if I’m not leading myself well, I don’t deserve to serve others.
To the uninitiated or the naïve, the pastor only has one job: spoken ministry (teaching and preaching). In short, most people think that any talk that has to be given is the pastor’s obligation. After all, he only has one job.
“You had one job” is a popular phrase for internet memes. But, pastor, you only have
one two *jobs.
1) Casting Vision – that’s my job. If you’re a lead pastor, it’s yours too. You must do whatever it takes to discern, understand, clarify, and communicate the distinct vision for the local church you serve. That is one of the reasons I prefer the term lead pastor over senior pastor. Leading with vision is what God has called me to do. But you can’t do this without the effective use of words. That leads us to your second big responsibility.
2) Spoken Ministry – in 1994, I submitted to God’s call upon my life for ministry leadership. I quickly understood that included the call to preach, teach, and use words to glorify Him. A pastor that doesn’t learn to intentionally use their words in all settings is missing out. Spoken ministry includes the Sunday sermons, midweek lessons, and funeral remarks. It also includes speaking to church staff in meetings and every other ministry moment.
Most other tasks can be delegated. But pastor, these two belong on your shoulders. Yes, you are allowed to get help with them. Keep reading for some detailed wisdom on these two.
I find it weird when a new pastor insists upon a vision for their new pastorate in the first month. It could take a few months to a year. Get to know what you have, who they are, and how God wants to use this church to build His Kingdom. In addition to prayer and Bible study, try this in the process of discerning the vision. Get to know the former pastors and staff and have some meals with some long-term members.
Once you’ve acquired the New Testament styled vision, please simplify it. All great leaders must learn to simplify. Your vision needs to be clear and concise enough that every church member can grasp it. But it needs to be meaningful enough to you that you could support it with a research paper if challenged.
I do not mean to infer that the lead pastor should never use staff or guests when it comes to spoken ministry. It’s not wise for the lead pastor to preach or teach every service throughout the year. I love it when a staff member preaches. And we all love it when a guest preacher comes in with fresh wind and inspires us to be and do more.
It might shock you, but I believe the lead pastor should preach a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 45 Sundays in each calendar year. It takes some strategic planning and budgeting, and it doesn’t mean a pastor should get 7 – 12 weeks of annual vacation. But consider this. In addition to Sundays, the pastor probably has a midweek Bible study that they speak at 40 to 60 percent of the time. Then there are funerals and weddings, and other speaking engagements.
So there you have it, pastor. You thought you had one job, but you’ve got two. What a mountain of responsibility there is in those two! God bless you, pastor. And thank you for serving God and His people.
Feel free to connect with me and ask some questions. I’d be glad to pray for and interact with you.
*Of course, we recognize that pastoral ministry is a definite calling from God and not like any other job that an individual might acquire.