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Regardless of the role you sit in, understanding and excelling in your role is key for a healthy and growing church. 

The relationship between the Senior Pastor and Executive Pastor can make or break a church staff team. It has profound impact upon the overall ministry of the church. Get this right and you’ll end up getting a lot right. Get it wrong, and well, it’s going to be tough sledding.

There are some basic no brainer things that make a great Senior and Executive Pastor partnership. You might not be surprised to read that trust must be at the foundation of it.

executive pastor role

You can’t allow triangulation—the Senior and Executive Pastor need to stay connected and on the same page. I’d recommend a weekly touch base meeting to help solve this.

You can’t allow triangulation—the Senior and Executive Pastor need to stay connected and on the same page. I’d recommend a weekly touch base meeting to help solve this. Click To Tweet

You can’t have a “good cop / bad cop” situation. You don’t want the staff to love the Senior Pastor and fear the Executive Pastor. Executive Pastors, remember that fear doesn’t make people want to follow you.

On the other side of the coin, Senior Pastors, you can’t delegate all of the tough decisions and execution to the Executive Pastor. The church needs your leadership—not just your direction.

A great analogy for a healthy partnership between a Senior and Executive Pastor is like a mom and a dad leading a family together through mutual submission to one another—lead in your areas of brilliance and submit in your areas of weakness.

Lead in your areas of brilliance and submit in your areas of weakness. Click To Tweet

The Executive Pastor needs to support the Senior Pastor publicly and, when needed, appropriately challenge them privately.

There are four primary roles that each can’t delegate away—

4 Things the Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate

  1. Leadership
  2. Teaching
  3. Vision
  4. Culture

4 Things the Executive Pastor Can’t Delegate

  1. Strategy
  2. Execution
  3. Leading the Senior Leadership Team
  4. Daily Train, Develop & Coach the Culture

Regardless of the role you sit in, understanding and excelling in your role is key for a healthy and growing church. 

Paul Alexander

Paul is a Ministry Consultant with The Unstuck Group. Paul has more than 20 years experience serving in the local church, the last 15 of which have been on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.

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