This is a blog for staff pastors and church leaders who don’t serve in the senior pastor role. Whether you’re a student pastor, small group pastor, worship pastor, campus pastor, or a staff member of another type; you love your pastor, and you love your church. The struggle is sometimes you feel confused about what your pastor needs from you.
Let’s be honest, sometimes Lead Pastors aren’t always clear about their expectations and needs for their team. So what do you do? How can you help? A great staff member understands their pastor carries the weight of the whole church on their shoulders, and they want to help lighten the load because they know that when the senior leader is at their best the church and team are typically at their best too.
[clickToTweet tweet=”A great staff member understands that when the Senior Leader is at their best the church and team are typically at their best too. @excellentpastor” quote=”A great staff member understands that when the Senior Leader is at their best, the church and team are typically at their best too.”]
If you have a heart to serve your senior leader but you spend more time hoping you’re helping than knowing you’re helping, here are four things that you can do THIS WEEK to support your lead pastor.
1. Do Your Job
I could add to this the statement “without having to be asked to.” Hopefully when you were hired for your job you were given a job description that clearly described the specific expectations. If so, when was the last time you looked at it and evaluated how you’re doing? A Lead Pastor can’t lead like a lead pastor if they have to act like a staff pastor. They can’t do their job if they have to do yours too.
If you are paid even a small salary, remember that one of the reasons people at your church give their hard earned money is so you can be compensated for your work. Work hard. Your lead pastor, and the ministry you oversee needs you to do your job. If you want to take some weight off of your lead pastor, show up, look at your job description, and do it.
If you are a staff pastor and you are unclear about the expectations, sit down and have that conversation with your pastor. Specifically ask the question, “What does it look like if I’m doing a good job?” or “How do I know if I’m doing a good job?” I promise your pastor would rather have a 15-minute discussion to clear up the specifics of your role than constantly being frustrated at you for not doing what they assume you know you are supposed to do. You can read more about having important conversations in this post.
2. Pastor People
Be honest. Have you ever received a text or call from your lead pastor on the weekend asking you to spend your time off visiting someone in the hospital? What was your first thought? How did you feel? It’s ok to feel frustrated for a moment, but we have to remember our first and most important job is to serve our pastor. One of the best ways you can serve your senior pastor is by representing them well in times they can’t or shouldn’t show up.
I’ve probably heard my pastor say it 100+ times, “you’re first calling is to pastor people.” Yes, systems are essential. Spend time programming for kids or outings for students. Pick the worship setlist for Sunday and schedule volunteers. Have meetings and get your teams organized, but first and foremost you are in the people business. One of the best things you can do for your pastor is to always be pastoring people.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘One of the best ways you can serve your senior pastor is by representing them well in times they can’t or shouldn’t show up.’ @excellentpastor” quote=”‘One of the best ways you can serve your senior pastor is by representing them well in times they can’t or shouldn’t show up.'”]
3. Love Their Family
Your lead pastor worries about his family. They want to protect their spouse from unreasonable expectations and cruel comments. They want their kids to love the church. They constantly worry they are spending too much time at the office, or missing important moments in an attempt to lead the church. Your pastor loves his family and it means the world to them when you love them too. Support them, protect them, and pray for them. Nothing shows you love your pastor more than the way you love their family.
4. Ask Them What They Need From You
Have you ever walked into your lead pastor’s office and asked the question “what can I do to help?” It can be a scary question because I promise your pastor, like mine, has a notebook somewhere with pages and pages of to-do lists that he would love some help with.
I challenge you to go ask them what they need. Ask this question, “What’s something I can take off your plate that is causing a lot of stress right now?” and watch the shock and relief on their face. I’ll warn you, it’s not just the thought that counts. If you ask be ready to deliver. You may touch up paint where the chairs have rubbed the wall. You may make phone calls to people you don’t know. You may scrape gum off the floor. Your pastor sees everything. They are proud of the church God has entrusted to them and the things that cause them the most stress are the little things they haven’t gotten to yet because of other demands.
You may need to push the issue if they’re not used to being offered help, but force the issue and have them tell you something you can do to clear the noise in their head. This is a great book to read with your lead pastor about helping quiet the noise in their head.
No matter your role, do your job with excellence. Never stop pastoring people. Support your lead pastor’s family, and ask them what they need. It’s an honor to be in your position and do what you do. Don’t waste your opportunity. Show up every week and serve God, your church, and your pastor well.