Home Pastors Articles for Pastors The Role of a Pastor – 16 Things People Never See

The Role of a Pastor – 16 Things People Never See

Business advisor. It may be because I have a business background, but I think it also comes with the role. Business leaders—especially self-employed business owners—want help discerning the right decisions. (I admire that about them.) One place they consistently seek input from is the pastor.

Custodian. I can’t stand a piece of paper on the floor. If I see a trash can overflowing—I don’t call someone—I do something about it. Most pastors I know want the facility ready when people arrive. So, they do what they have to do. In fairness, I don’t do much of this. Mine is a more supervisory role. We have a large facility and an excellent team. I do know pastors, however, that have to help on a larger role in facility maintenance or custodial care.

Arbitrator. I’ve stood between a few people before trying to work through division and build cooperation. It could be in a marriage, or I have even been between business partners in the church. People often want a third-party objective, and many times they look to the pastor for that role.

Social worker. I read a definition of social worker recently. Seeks to improve the quality of life and subjective well-being of individuals, families, couples, groups and communities through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, crisis intervention and teaching. Yeah. That.

Volunteer coordinator. Every pastor must learn how to coordinate the efforts of different people, who communicate uniquely and have their expectations of volunteer leadership.

Events manager. I need to be honest. I don’t fill this one often, although I do have some responsibilities with events. I am no good at the details of it, and thankfully there are people in our church who can fulfill this role better than me. But most pastors, including me, have responsibility for events at some level.

CEO. Let me be very clear that Jesus is the CEO of the church. (Some may argue Jesus is the owner and He left us to provide everyday leadership—under His direction.) If I get critics on this one criticism, it will be because you misunderstand what I’m saying. Maybe on my ability to say it where you can interpret it. But make no mistake about it—the pastor is expected to lead so many aspects of the church. On every major decision of the church, most churches want the input of the pastor. Regardless of the structure of the church, it can feel very much like a CEO position. (And I’ve been one in my previous business career.) This is one of the larger uses of my “non-preaching” time. By the way, I have talked with dozens of pastors who don’t feel prepared for this role.

Fundraiser. Ministry takes money. And most of the church looks to the pastor to be the primary solicitor of contributions. (Honestly, it’s a huge burden to most pastors and one they don’t feel comfortable doing.)

Recruiter. No church can function without volunteers or leaders. Most pastors are consistently looking for new people to get involved and lead ministries of the church. And the search for volunteers is a continuous effort.

Trainer. Pastors consistently help people learn how to do something. Whether it involves life skills or how to function within a ministry of the church, one of a pastor’s primary goals is to help people improve in areas of their life.

Scholar. I’m not the smartest person in our church. But at the same time, the church has a certain level of expectation regarding my understanding of history, the Bible and current events—locally and around the world. Most expect the pastor is to be well-spoken and well-read.

Writer. I estimate I average five to seven writing assignments a week beside my message and my blog. Bulletin articles. Church-wide emails. Letters of recommendations.

Manager. Every pastor manages someone—even if they are volunteers. In fact, volunteer management may actually be more difficult.

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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.