Advice For New Senior Pastors


I routinely talk to people who are in a new senior or lead pastor role and they’re considering who should be on their church leadership team. Most of these church leaders realize that having a strong team should be a top priority, however, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The wide variety of resources for team building can be overwhelming.

People in new senior pastor roles tend to focus on solving problems or advancing the organization with the current team that is already in existence. Before moving forward, it is always wise to evaluate who should be on the church leadership team. It is far easier to make changes to a team in the initial stages of a church leadership transition.

Here are seven questions to help you identify who should be on your senior leadership team:
● Do they have the leadership gift? Don’t be afraid to make a change if someone on your inherited team is not a church leader. You can find a place for them but not on this particular team.
● Are they a big picture thinker? Is this person more concerned about their individual goals or their ministry area instead of the positive outcome of the entire organization?
 Is this person a strategic thinker? You want to invest in church leaders who think about the future instead of managers who focus on small, daily details.
● Can they build teams? Can the individual identify and empower other leaders? If they always try to do everything themselves, they are the wrong person for your team.
● Do they share the vision and values of your organization? Every church leader at this level needs to be aligned with the organization’s vision and values.
● Does this person help reflect the diversity of our organization? Consider using the Leading From Your Strengths profile to help you identify how different strengths are the foundation for different leaders.
● Is this person a lifelong learner? Tomorrow the questions will be different. Your organization needs people who embrace church leadership development and will grow with your ministry.

Don’t be afraid to make changes at the beginning of your new leadership role. Growth typically occurs through change. It is highly unusual to see the same exact team remaining in place year after year. You are the new leader for a reason; your organization is relying on you to make sure that the right leaders are on the team.

To find out more about building leadership teams, check out Take The Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team.