Reflecting on my life as an Exec Pastor and thinking about the things that have helped me, it can be difficult to articulate them as the role can be so full and varied but here’s 3 things to start with….
Contrary to some opinions, I am not a pushy person. I am naturally a quieter personality, an introvert, someone who doesn’t mind systems and process, as long as they are not strangling the life out of the people involved in making church happen.
I like to have permission to act, to speak, to give opinion, to ask the awkward questions. As in all things though, even with permission, I still get it wrong occasionally.
It took a while for me and my Lead Pastor to get there, and we are tweaking it all the time, but a good, clear understanding of the role required, what you are being asked to do, being given permission to do it, and then others being informed of that, really helped. It’s not about title but that moment when it was explained why I was here and what I would be doing was extremely important for me. How?
I was able to relax into the role. I was no longer speaking just for myself but on behalf of the Lead Pastor. Knowing I had the full support of my oversight was a big deal for me.
It made us stronger as a lead team. My desire has always been that you couldn’t get a piece of paper between us. Playing us off against one another won’t work.
People knew why I was talking to them and asking the questions I was. As mentioned in the previous post, when you know what you are actually supposed to be doing, it can help you to help others to flourish in what they are supposed to be doing, which ultimately sees the vision fulfilled.
Exec Pastor, it’s a grand title that most people don’t understand or don’t want to understand. You are a Pastor in that everything is about people and helping them to grow in their journey with Jesus, yet it’s different too. It’s a strategic role, one that means being mindful of the big picture, knowing the vision and how everything that we do as a church fits in with this.
If people ask me about my role I have simple one line. I don’t know if it’s right but it works for me, ‘I have oversight of those who have oversight.’ It’s probably too simplistic but it’s a starting point.
A different answer but equally clear is that my role is about helping take what’s in my Lead Pastors head, the vision and the future of the Church, and then, alongside a whole bunch of other great people, help to make it a reality.
You cannot get to the place of being on the same page and understanding each other if you never catch up. I value the time I have with my Lead Pastor. It is essential. When it can’t happen, that’s when things can become confused, unclear and that then affects productivity.
Time to talk things through is when I get to know what’s on his heart, what is exciting him about church and the future or alternatively, what’s causing him concern. It’s an honest exchange of thoughts and opinion at times but thats alright, it certainly helps me to know where mine and the teams focus should be.
It also helps that we actually like one another. Plus, after 5 years or so years in the role and 22 years of church life together, I know his heart and I’m fairly certain that he knows mine. I’m not after his seat but I will do all thats needed to protect him, support him and gather others to do the same.
Ultimately I am just playing my part in helping to grow God’s kingdom. I may have a fancy title but I still need to be about the same things as everyone else. I do not get a free pass. I still need to be about loving God and loving people, and in that sense I know I have a lot to learn from everyone else.
If you are in a similar role to mine, what would you add? What has help you to find you feet in this privileged role?