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4 Irreplaceable Tasks of the Senior Pastor

4 Irreplaceable Tasks of the Senior Pastor

One reason leadership can make a person feel isolated is the weight of responsibility on the one who claims to be the senior leader in an organization. Whether in the business world, in nonprofits or in churches, there are some things that happen in any organization that senior leaders help determine—whether intentional or not. In each of these cases, inactivity determines them just as much as activity.

The weight of that responsibility can be overwhelming at times, but it’s unavoidable to a point. It comes with the position.

Successful senior leaders are cognizant of their input in them and place intentional energy toward them.

Here Are Four Tasks of the Senior Leader:

Vision—The senior leader is the ordained caretaker of the organization’s vision. The vision may be predetermined by a board, or in the church’s sense, obviously by Jesus, but all leaders place their spin on implementing the vision. At the end of the day, the senior leader is held responsible for seeing that the organization’s vision is attained. And inactivity toward this will—as stated—also determine the vision—at least the perceived vision—by the organization.

Values—The senior leader must carry out, protect or shape the culture of the organization. Much of the character of the organization will be determined or maintained by the way this person leads and lives his or her life. This is so true in the life of a church. The moral integrity of a church will seldom be greater than the pastor’s personal moral integrity.

Victories—Senior leaders determine what matters to an organization. They ultimately define a win by setting end goals primarily by what is most celebrated, acknowledged or rewarded. An organization cannot do everything and this individual’s leadership determines priorities, initiatives and major objectives to be accomplished. Senior pastors are one of the single greatest influences of what a church does well by the intentionality—or lack thereof—toward the things it labels a victory.

Velocity—The senior leader sets the speed by which the organization will operate. The lead person is in the role of balancing present tasks and future opportunities. His or her individual pace and expectations of others determines how fast the organization functions, changes, adapts and responds. The lead pastor also sets the pace—fast or slow—of the church in accomplishing her mission.

Most organizations will have a governing body—board of directors, stakeholders or elders—to oversee the organization, hire the senior pastor or CEO, and hold title to the organization, but it is ultimately the person in that role who daily carries out these four functions. A senior leader can delegate, form a great team environment, seek wise counsel or even shirk his or her responsibility, but to fulfill the role of the senior leader effectively there are some responsibilities that rest solely with this position.

Whether or not the senior leader consciously recognizes his or her role in accomplishing these tasks, by sheer position he or she is determining the way the organization performs in these four areas.

Are you a senior leader in your organization? Do you feel the weight of these responsibilities? Do you understand your important role in setting these four principles of the organization?  

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.