If You Could Ask One Question To Executive Pastors

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I love meeting with church leaders and finding out what they’re learning. Even more, I love exchanging these learnings  with as many Canadian church leaders as possible.

Recently, I had another opportunity to do just that. In beautiful Victoria, BC, I met with a group of executive pastors from some of Canada’s largest, most influential churches. Several of you submitted questions for me to ask these pastors, and in the coming days I’ll post some of these questions, and their responses.

Question 1:

“Did you feel adequately prepared for your work when you took this job as an executive pastor?”

The answers here were evenly split, depending on the background of the pastor. Those who came from another ministry position generally felt better prepared for the role, having already been exposed to a ministry environment.

These EPs, who had previously worked as a small groups pastor, youth pastor, or even senior pastor, spoke of the advantages of having a familiarity with the workings of a church, and of their ability to more readily establish a rapport with pastoral staff. I asked if the administrative parts of the role were a particular challenge, and most felt that they adapted quickly to these responsibilities, often leveraging the gifts of others to help.

Those who transitioned into the role from the marketplace reported having a more challenging time adapting to the role. While most instantly excelled in the administrative parts of the role, several expressed frustrations in the early days learning to lead pastors.

Application for churches: Recognize that this critical role is one of the least trained roles of any staff position, yet it carries enormous responsibilities. If you’re hiring out of the marketplace, know that the staff leadership portion of the role may be the most challenging, and be prepared to offer specific training to help transition the EP into this aspect of the position.

In what ways have you ensured the successful transition of your executive pastor?

In my next post I look at a question which was contributed regarding church staff structures.

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Scott Cochrane

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