How is your Pastor Doing, Really?

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Chances are, if your church board functions like most, part of your mandate is to ensure the care, support and accountability of your lead pastor.

And chances are, if your church board functions like most, this vital function often gets overlooked.

Because let’s face it, this crucial role played by board members can often be awkward, and sometimes even be completely misunderstood.

On some boards the following sentiment gets inserted in a monthly board meeting agenda. With the pastor sitting at the end of the table the chairman will announce, “We will now check in with the lead pastor. So, pastor Bob… How’s it going?”

“Fine.”

“Great,” replies the chairman, crossing this item off the agenda. “Next item, repaving the parking lot…”

Here’s a practical suggestion to address this vital board function. Appoint a standing “sub-committee” whose sole purpose is the care, support and accountability of the lead pastor.

I serve on this group at our church, and this week’s coffee with our lead pastor reminded me again how important this role is.

This group, only three of us, meets four times per year with our pastor and includes:

  • Performance review. No sugar coating. We celebrate successes and press for results.
  • Support. To ensure his success we explore training opportunities and other resources.
  • Soul Care. In this safe setting we can look him straight in the eye and find out how he is doing…really. And we can respond with whatever spiritual care he requires. We are also on official “stand-by” to respond quickly should he require immediate care or counsel.

Bottom line? This week when we asked him “So, how are you doing, really,” we actually found out. For our pastor, our board and our church, that was a win.

How do you ensure the care, support and accountability of your pastor?

the author

Scott Cochrane

8 comments

  1. Great post Scott, I’m so glad you guys are doing that for our pastor, I’m sure he is blessed for having such a team!
    Way to go!

  2. This is something that I’m trying to have set up at my church. I’ve been the Pastor at my church for nearly a year with nothing in place for this.

    Do you have any material, guidelines, or whatever that could be used to point us in the right direction?

    Thanks!

  3. Kevin, We don’t have anything in writing, but the three points listed above do serve as our ‘guiding light’. Good luck setting this up; I do think this is important for both the pastor and for the board.

  4. While I think this is an ideal, I am interested to know how this could translate to a very small church community and an even smaller leadership team?

    Also, one thing I think would be limiting to this is the fact that in some church contexts (such as mine), the lead/senior pastor may operate with the idea that struggles and issues are not to be discussed with immediate congregation members, even leaders.

  5. Paul, regarding a ‘small church’ context, I don’t think church size enters into this principle. The need to support the pastor crosses all church sizes. As for the question of a small leadership team, if the board consists of only 4 or 5 members then, indeed, a sub-group is likely not necessary (as long as they take the responsibility to support the pastor seriously). As for the pastor who resists such support…well, extra prayer for him is required!

  6. Apples to apples, if a pastor of a small congregation discusses issues with a small core of say 4 supporters, that could represent 10% of the congregation. Would a pastor of a larger church be willing to divulge to the same 10% ratio; equating to say 200 people. Church size may matter, maybe not.

    At the end of the day it’s about trust, confidentiality, and common sense, and that a pastor has support in the truest sense of the word.

  7. Glen, your closing line is right-on. What you’ve described (trust, confidentiality etc) is, I think, what every pastor longs for and needs.

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