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3 Things Every Lead Pastor Wants from His Executive Pastor

3 Things Every Lead Pastor Wants from His Executive Pastor

Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Published On:

November 21, 2023

I have served in the roles of Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, Executive Pastor, and now Lead Pastor. As I’ve spent time feeling the unique joys and flat sides of each position, I’ve gotten to see how a strong pastoral team works together, and specifically how each position contributes to the needs of the church. Now, being the Lead Pastor, I’ve come to realize that there are three key things I’d want from the pastors who work alongside me, and I have no shame in saying “especially” the Executive Pastor (or whatever your church calls the second chair). And let me just say, these things I will outline come after core, biblical things such as faithfulness, integrity, and professionalism. With those things firmly established, when the rubber meets the road, it’s these three things I’m looking for…


This comes in a number of ways – not just support in the sense of supporting or defending decisions made by leadership, but support in providing wisdom, counsel, and insight. Also, support in the sense that I’ve got guys around me who will have my back when push comes to shove. Working in that sort of environment is what every working person should have from the people they work with. Knowing that not only will a person not gossip behind your back, but they’ll actually put a stop to it is the type of team that does great things! As I mentioned, having spent time as a Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, Executive Pastor, and now Lead Pastor, one thing I’ve seen is that every position has a unique insight into the church that the other positions do not, and I would say the Lead Pastor must always realize “he does not know it all.” He does not know it all in terms of what’s happening in the world, or in the lives of every single person, or within the finer aspects of the various ministries of the church and this is why he needs the support of those around him to lead in the ways God has called him to. So, yes, I need support in defending decisions that are made, support in helping to inform the decision-making process, as well as support in enacting the vision laid out. As I’m sure you’ll see, this theme of support is woven through the next two…


I can’t stress this one enough. The less I have to worry about direction and assignments getting finished in a timely manner, the better our team will function. But let’s add a little caveat here; “timely manner” is a highly subjective term. So, a timely manner is defined by the Lead Pastor. It’s the Lead Pastor’s job to clearly define what that means for the team that he leads. No one wants to be micromanaged, and one way to stave this off is to prove, over time, that you can get the job done in the time allotted, if not sooner. So, let’s go one step further – don’t wait for your boss to check in to see if the task is complete, but rather – try to get the assignment done before your Lead Pastor even has to ask. When I hand out a direction, task, or assignment, and it’s completed before I expect it to be, that shows to me I have a team that understands the priorities and honors leadership. If I am surprised at how quickly something was taken care of, or completed, let’s just say that I take note of that! Having a proven ethic of follow-through will only build trust, but it curb the negative contributors to toxic culture such as laziness, carelessness, and apathy.


Do not think this third point is trite, or simply the “Sunday School answer.” Stated clearly: I do not want to work with people who fail to understand that they need to pray for me. I want my fellow pastors to pray for me because they want to, and they know they need to. When you are truly and consistently praying for someone, your heart becomes invested in them. I want to work with a pastor (or team of pastors) where our hearts are aligned and connected and a key way this happens is when we pray for each other – not just at the beginning or end of a meeting, but in our times of solitude when it’s not demanded or expected out of decorum.


What’s Missing?

You may be thinking, “Wait, what about things like honor, respect, and trust?” Well, here’s the deal on those: Honor, respect, and trust are earned. If I lead respectfully and honorably in a trustworthy manner, but honor, respect, and trust are not given, then this is clearly a mismatched team, and it’s time to part ways. Yes, I would hope that every church honors and respects the position of Lead Pastor, but it’s demanded upon the man in that position to also earn and maintain the honor respect, and trust that position deserves.


Pastors, you do this by upkeeping the biblical standard, keeping Christ first, and loving those God has called you to lead, but as I consider what I need from my Executive Pastor, or pastoral team, support, follow-through, and prayer are easily the three things I need from my team as I earn their honor, respect, and trust.

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