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10 Expectations for Supporting the Senior Pastor

Be the best version of you you can be.

Especially if you know you want to be in the senior position someday, don’t wait until you are in the number one position to make a difference in the church. This helps you, the pastor and the church. But, regardless—even if you know you always want to be in a supporting staff position—do good work. In fact, do your best work. In fact, I always like to encourage people who work with me to keep building their resume, for whatever might be next for you. I’ll even help you build it if you let me. This isn’t about building “my” team. We are in a Kingdom business.

Be a complement to the pastor.

Most likely, you are needed for your abilities, which are different from the senior pastor. Use your gifting to make the church better and improve the overall leadership of the pastor. Help fill the gaps the pastor can’t fill and may not even see. Learn to “lead up” so you can take responsibilities off the pastor when you are able. Volunteer without being asked. This will serve you well also.

Pick your battles.

Even in the healthiest organizations, there will be conflict and disagreements. Don’t always be looking for something about which you disagree. Ask yourself if the battle is worth fighting for or if this is the hill on which to die. Be a supporter as often as you can and a detractor as seldom as you can.

Learn all you can.

Most likely, the pastor knows some things you don’t. Sometimes you will learn what not to do from your pastor. Let every experience—good and bad—teach you something you can use later to make you a better leader.

Leave when it’s time.

Be fair to the church, the pastor and yourself, and leave when your heart leaves the position. When you can no longer support the pastor or the organization, or you begin to affect the health or morale of the church and staff, it’s time to go.

Closing thoughts:

I personally understand the frustration of being part of a team but not feeling you have the freedom to share your opinions or the opportunity to help shape the future of the organization. Real leaders never last long in that type environment. There are certainly leaders who will never be open to your input. Again, I recommend discovering this early and not wasting much time battling that type of insecure leader.

The goal of this post is not to sound arrogant as a senior pastor, but to help the organization of the church by addressing issues that will help improve the leadership of the church and the working relationship between staff members.

This article originally appeared here.

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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.