Elevating Excellence

Too many pastors believe the ability to lead equals the ability to manage.

If you are like most pastors, the most important position(s) for you to fill are those one or two senior executives who manage the major elements of your organization. For example, with Bishop Jakes, I am COO of TDJ Enterprises, and I manage all of Bishop Jakes’ for-profit business interest. Likewise, I have a counterpart who acts as COO of The Potter’s House and manages the nonprofit ministry. In turn, both myself and my counterpart at The Potter’s House are each supported by a chief financial officer who manages the financial matters of their respective organization. Having these two executives in place will give you the foundation that you need to build out the entire team. Effectively, everyone else on the executive team will report to these two individuals who, in turn, will report to the leader.

You will find that having a senior executive team in place will not only free up the pastor’s time to focus on ministry issues, but it also gives the pastor an all-important buffer.

What I mean here is that the pastor should almost never be the conveyer of bad news. However, effectively running any organization means making choices and setting priorities. Any time priorities are set and choices are made, usually someone wins and someone loses, (or at least perceives him or herself to have won or lost). The choir is upset because they think they didn’t get new robes because the youth got new video games. The accountant thinks that the extra income from last month should be placed in savings, but someone else thinks that the sound equipment needs to be updated. Management is choices. It is the job of the buffer/executive to explain the choices to the leaders of the various groups that make up the church.

Similarly, because the pastor has a dual role of employer/boss and pastor for the employees, he or she should not be doing the firing or other disciplinary actions. The pastor needs to stay out of the trenches and above the fray as much as possible. I don’t mean to imply that the pastor should not take responsibility—he or she should. But the pastor also needs to remain in a place where he or she can maintain relationships and focus on the big picture.

So, the goal is to find the right individual(s), someone who shares the vision but also has a background and talents completely different from yours.

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