the shape of leadership

Eight Hats Lead Pastors Wear

Preaching is just the beginning

Influence Magazine on May 31, 2019

So, you want to be a lead pastor? You probably already know it’s hard work. Each service requires hours of preparation. But what the congregation sees on Sunday mornings is often just the tip of the iceberg. Most lead pastors wear a lot of different hats throughout the week.

It’s great when a lead pastor can focus solely on his or her particular gift set, passion or job description. But that’s seldom the case. Whether leading large or small churches, they inevitably wear more than one hat. Here are eight common ones:

1. Public Speaker

Preaching is often a lead pastor’s most visible role. But public speaking extends beyond weekly sermons. There are video announcements to create, community events to speak at, weddings to officiate, and more.

2. Team Leader

Pastors need to lead their teams well. This means learning to hire staff, settle disputes, manage meetings, assign responsibilities and evaluate performance. Even pastors with few staff members have volunteers who need attention.

Whether leading large or small churches, pastors inevitably wear more than one hat.

3. Ministry Specialist

Lead pastors should become well acquainted with every ministry in the church. Through research and relationship building, they often develop expertise in multiple areas — from children’s ministries to music — so they can make informed decisions about each ministry’s direction.

4. Vision Caster

Lead pastors set the tone by casting vision. Most importantly, this means seeking God for direction and remaining sensitive to the Holy Spirit. But it also means mapping out a plan for where the church is going and how it will get there — and articulating it in a way that convinces people to buy in. Casting vision is crucial to continued success week after week.

5. Evangelist

The goal of every church is to fulfill the Great Commission. Lead pastors should care deeply about making disciples. Shepherding the 99 is an important part of the job, but reaching the lost sheep is a Kingdom priority (Matthew 18:10-14). That’s the heart of the Great Commission.

6. Counselor

For many pastors, counseling is either a joy or a burden. But the reality is people often go to the lead pastor for advice. A big part of pastoral counseling is knowing when to refer a member to a professional for more help. Still, this is one hat nearly all lead pastors wear at times.

7. Creative Director

Some lead pastors have creative teams of talented people who are experts in music, visual arts, lighting, sound systems, marketing and more. But even when that’s the case, lead pastors need some creative insight as they direct the overall vision of the church.

8. Financial Expert

No pastor should have complete control of a church’s finances. But lead pastors should know how to manage money. Whether they’re making church budgeting decisions or preaching on finances, pastors can’t avoid this hat.

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