It is not too much to say a congregation places a lot of expectations on their pastor.
To give you an idea of some of the expectations churches have, I recently Googled: "congregation's expectation of a pastor. That list is just the tip of the iceberg of what congregations all across America expect of their pastor.
But are these expectations realistic? Can a pastor really be all these things? Should he be all these things? Paul tells us pastors are first and foremost to serve Christ.
That is not it at all. Pastors should certainly serve their church. When I serve His people, I may not serve Him. Look at verse 1 again.
A household steward is someone who manages and dispenses goods to the household at the request of the owner. Pastors are not to do any of those things. It is for this reason that I primarily preach through books of the Bible. It is instead me exposing you to what God wants you to hear — His Word. Someone who is faithful is someone who can be trusted to do what is asked of them.
Even though we will experience those things, we can be content knowing God is sovereign and that He has a plan for each and everyone of our lives.
7 Expectations Every Congregation Should Have for Their Pastor
When that times comes, we will not only be vindicated for our beliefs, but we will also live in a perfect world with our Savior for all eternity. In order to be imitatable, we have to take following Jesus seriously. He also called us to follow Him, to live as He lives, to allow Him to direct and guide our lives.
So if we want others to imitate us, we must allow the One we are to imitate to guide and direct our lives. They are also given to rebuke and discipline those who are unwilling to repent 1 Cor.Part of a healthy organization is recognizing the individual roles and responsibilities of the others on the team.
You may want to read that post first to better understand this post.
10 Expectations for Supporting the Senior Pastor
I continued my talk to executive pastors by sharing how other staff members within the church can support the position of senior pastor. I realize none of the churches where I have served would have been successful without the creativity, diligence and leadership of the staff with whom I served. A healthy staff requires a team approach. It requires everyone working together. As I attempt to lead a team, there are certain expectations I have for those who serve on a church staff in supporting the leadership of a senior pastor.
Some people are wired for a supporting role and some are not. This is why so many are planting churches these days. They wanted to be able to do things on their own—lead their own way.
You may be able to serve in a supporting role for a short time, but not long term. There is nothing wrong with that. Are you comfortable with that fact? You should make this decision early in your relationship, preferably before you start, but definitely soon into the process.
Resisting the leadership of the senior pastor is usually not good for you or the church. This is huge. It causes them to question everything the senior leader does. On a healthy team, every position is equally important. I am simply facing reality. Most likely, the basic personality of your leader is not going to change.
I always tell our staff I hope they never stay for a paycheck. Do good work. Even if you are not percent satisfied where you are at in your career at the current time, keep learning and continue to be exceptional in your position. Be a linchpin. The fact is you may learn more in these days that will help you in future days.
This is a general principle when working with others, but especially true in this situation. That works when working with a leader and on a team also. Sign in. Log into your account.It's a problem as people face marriage. It's a problem as people think about the workplace. It's a problem as couples anticipate the birth of their first child.
It's a problem as we think about our friendships. And yes, it's a problem as pastors think about their life in the church. What is this problem?
Unrealistic expectations. I am convinced we have them because, at street level, we don't take seriously what the Bible has to say about the condition of this world. Sin has cast this world into trouble. You see the smoke and dirt of this trouble spread throughout the pages of Scripture. There's no escaping it: this world isn't functioning as it was designed to.
The Bible warns us that we're living in a world literally groaning, waiting for redemption see Romans ff. We live in a world with disease and death, neither one of which was part of the initial plan. We live in a world of deceit and disappointment, neither one a part of God's original intention. We live in a world of rebellion and sin, neither a part of the "good" that God created. We live in a world of suffering and loss, both so far from God's plan.
We live in a world of violence and war, surely not the handiwork of the Prince of Peace. We live in a world where lust and greed motivate hearts, not what God intended the heart to do. We live in a world where all of these things touch all of our lives and complicate our ministries. No relationship is free of disappointment. No institution, including the church, is totally free of sin and corruption.
No location is free of difficulty. No moment in our lives or ministries exists untouched by the Fall. Why is this so important to acknowledge? We have not taken seriously what the Bible says about the fallen world. Here's what I've often seen as I've worked with struggling pastors.
Because of unrealistic ministry expectations, they don't prepare well for the difficulties of building a healthy, God-honoring community of faith. Consequently, they are caught short and unprepared, as sin within and difficulty without rear their ugly heads in the life of their church. This causes them to react rather than act carefully. In the end they are not only suffering the troubles of ministry in this fallen world, but also they are suffering the fact that, in their surprise and disappointment, they have troubled their own trouble.
As I've worked with churches, I've seen how all of this sets up a tendency for the pastor and his leaders to play to one another's weaknesses instead of their strengths. Instead of preparing themselves with the wisdom principles of God's Word and seeking the enabling power of God's grace, they sadly learn how to be politically strategic and personally protective.Seventh-day Adventists believe in inspiring those around us to experience a life of wholeness and hope for an eternal future with God.
A young man just returned from the Seminary asked for an appointment. I've been watching some of the other pastors, and I wonder if I can match their performance. I believe God called me to the ministry, and I'm convinced that I can be an effective pastor. But I want to know if I can meet the expectations you have of me in this conference. That was a wise young man. His very asking of that question impressed me positively. Many of us are not brave enough, or secure enough, to voice such a question openly.
Of one thing we can be certain: Everyone has expectations of us. And everyone discusses them with other people. After a Sabbath morning sermon, church members talk about how well we met their expectations.
Fellow pastors discuss what they expect from their peers. Conference office personnel talk about what they want to see from pastors, just as pastors share with each other what they need and expect from conference office staff. That question is difficult to answer because it is so broad. I have different expectations of a pastor of a large institutional church than I have of a pastor of a district of two small churches.
Because every church differs, as does every pastor, I must adapt my expectations of each. Generally, I expect a pastor to be and I believe he also wants to be faithful, competent, well-rounded, and growing. A faithful minister has a consistent dedication to God, His church, and the ministry. Church boards frequently ask about a prospective pastor, "Is he spiritual?
I believe that the spiritual person is thoroughly dedicated to God and His service, that he places God's will above personal advantage, and that he loves God's Word and seeks to live by its principles. A faithful pastor loves God's church and seeks its good always. Husbands are admonished to relate to their wives as Christ does to His church.
That requires an attitude of respect, protective nurture, and care.
For The Church
While it is our responsibility to protect the church from being wronged or mistreated, we must be cautious lest our zeal to correct mistakes results in harm rather than healing.
I expect a pastor to build up the church of God. I expect pastors to function as members of a team, not as loners. Pastors need to develop a spirit of collegiality, a willingness to build each other, and they need to have enough security in their own work so that they can learn and benefit from one another's strengths.
A strong pastor refuses to join in criticism that undermines his fellow pastors or other church leaders. I see his participation in, and attitude toward, workers' meetings as one index of his relationship with his fellow pastors. I expect pastors to be competent in their practice of ministry. Our church members sometimes have the impression that those who have been employed as ministers feel that the church owes them a job until retirement regardless of their competence or lack thereof.
Laypersons who serve on committees of the church voice concern about our protecting incompetence in both office personnel and pastors. We must perform our work effectively if we want continued support by our members. Pastors should be competent in preaching, soul winning, teaching, leading in worship, counseling, relating to people, planning, organizing, and leading a congregation—the list goes on and on. Which of these skills is most important? Different assignments require a different mix of skills.
The pastor must be sensitive to his members and his own abilities in order to have the proper emphasis in his current assignment. No pastor can function well for long unless he develops personal study skills and time-management ability. One of the most frustrating decisions for beginning pastors to make is how they will utilize their time, particularly how they will protect time for personal study.A church calls a new pastor to serve, and his wife and children make the move with him.
Church members eagerly welcome the new family and have high hopes God will use them mightily in the life of the church and community.
Expectations of the pastor are generally common knowledge. He probably reviewed a job description provided by the church and agreed upon it before accepting the call to serve there. But for his wife, things are a little different. She received no written document of formal expectations like her husband, yet those expectations exist nonetheless.
She may even have expectations of herself of how her role should look. Others may believe she should help with children, where the need is always great. There may be a small minority content to let her serve in less visible ways, perhaps in prayer or supporting her husband behind the scenes. Following Him will yield more joy and fruit than striving to please everyone else. The Holy Spirit graciously bestows supernatural gifts on every believer for the edification of the church.
No gift is more important than the next and is necessary for the church to function as God intends. Perhaps we have the gift of hospitality. We will come alive as we serve people in our homes or make people feel welcome at church. A mother of three preschoolers will have much less time to minister outside the home than a retired school teacher.
A healthy mom of school age kids may be able to serve during the day more often than a woman who is suffering with a chronic illness.
God’s Leading or Member Expectations? Four Ways Pastors’ Wives Can Discern
Wisdom calls us to take a look at the season in which we find ourselves. It may be that the role my giftedness serves best is already filled, with little necessity for further help. In that case, what area needs more attention? Love may require us to step outside our gifts for a short season to truly fill a need.
Six weeks of serving may be a sacrifice, but love for the girls is greater than feeling comfortable for that short time. Our husbands know us best, ladies. They know our strengths and weaknesses. They can see areas of service where we would excel, but perhaps lack confidence. Our husbands can sometimes discern better than ourselves how much energy and time a ministry may require and if we have the stamina and time to see it through. Our pastor husbands also know well the needs of the church.
They usually have insight into the demands a certain place of service might require and if it equals what we can give. Absolutely on point! Have said mentioned these to several people over the years but never have seen them written down! Thank you! Thanks a lot for this wonderful post. This is a great source of encouragement to me….
Your email address will not be published.Seventh-day Adventists believe in inspiring those around us to experience a life of wholeness and hope for an eternal future with God. I am the president of a small union conference. A few decades ago the General Conference gave its approval to disband the two existing conferences and create a simplified organization with only one administrative unit.
This has worked well. As a result, the union conference, in many ways, also functions like a conference, and I have the kind of direct interaction with the pastors in the local churches that most union conference presidents would not have. It is a part of my duties that I thoroughly enjoy. I tend to be demanding of other people.
But at the same time I also try to help create an atmosphere in which people experience ample freedom to be themselves—fostering warm collegiality, allowing them to feel encouraged to develop and pursue their own initiatives.
Yet, I do have definite expectations that I believe are reasonable. In fact, I am convinced that they form a platform for highly effective cooperation and collegiality in our collective ministry. The following seven principles are of paramount importance to me. While I hope that the pastors in my field will see this article and concur that this is indeed how we, in fact, work together, I trust it also may be of some use to others.
Often, we talk about church leaders and local pastors as if these are two main classes of church workers that are totally separate. Indeed, the people who operate out of a conference or union conference office have a specific leadership assignment.
But the pastors in the churches are leaders in their own right. I want the pastors to assume a leadership role in their churches.
They must lead by example. They must lead through planning and casting a vision for their members. Today, one hardly can talk about leadership without defining it as servant leadership.
I wholeheartedly agree—not because it is the politically correct thing to say but because any involvement in working for our Lord must be inspired by the example of the great Servant of all. But at the same time I believe this does not militate against the idea that a leader must have a certain degree of ambition. Successful leaders must want to be leaders and enjoy the fact that they are leaders. If not, they will soon cease to inspire the people they are called to lead.
You may have heard the story about two people who applied for a job. They may have a considerable number of years of service behind them, but this has not necessarily made them mature, experienced people.
I expect pastors to grow both personally and spiritually. That kind of growth does not just happen automatically. Pastors must intentionally feed their own souls. They also must be able to regularly take a critical look at themselves and determine where they need to improve and grow.
I also expect pastors to grow professionally. Of course, that expectation presupposes that the pastors are stimulated to avail themselves of opportunities for professional growth and that their employing organization provides learning opportunities. A church that does not change with the times and with the ever-changing culture in which it bears witness will soon be no more than a museum, visited occasionally by some people with some historical or nostalgic interest.
The church must speak to people of the twenty-first century. It must remain loyal to the message it proclaims but also must constantly pursue better and more persuasive ways of proclaiming that message in a progressively secular and postmodern context. To many, change does not come easily, and even the slightest modification is seen as a threat.
Pastors must be change agents par excellence. They must be committed to change but also must learn how, and in what tempo, to effectuate change. Our union conference has adopted a long-term strategy for growth—in numbers and in spirituality. All layers of the church have been able to provide input.Attempts to reconcile these expectations into a professional identity can be difficult. Once you realize that these respective desires coalesce into one unique set of corporate expectations, it becomes a lot easier.
More than an encyclopedic understanding of the Bible, communities of faith want to be led by someone with biblical wisdom. The difference can be seen in how a minister approaches challenges, counseling opportunities, and disagreements. This might be one of the most important and often ignored congregational desires.
A lot of pastoral training is focused on amassing the tools necessary to be informed and engaging speakers. Ministry can be spiritualized in a way that undermines the need for competent clergy.What to Look for in a Pastor (Selected Scriptures)
Chuches rightly expect competency in the work of ministry. The trap that most pastors fall into is the feeling that they have to measure up to well-known Bible teachers.
They should be an example of openness and integrity. So many churches flail around for decades struggling to pluck a specific direction out of a sea of infinite possibilities.
A good minister is able to focus congregational energy toward a common objective, even at the expense of other equally worthy potential goals. As a leader, a pastor should have a vision for his flock. Because most churches want to touch more lives, they desire growth.
This means evangelism is extremely important. Churches want to see maturity happening in the lives of all attendees.
Pastoral ministry comes with temptations. Lots of churches can tell stories about pastors who pulled sermons of the Internet and coasted through their responsibilities.
A congregation wants to look back on a series of goals that were set and met. They want a minister who is energizing the church to move forward. Leave me a comment and let me know! This has been really helpful. This is my first time of pastoring a regular congregation and my fears of failure are great but from this teaching I know I have an even greater chance of success.
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Scriptural understanding More than an encyclopedic understanding of the Bible, communities of faith want to be led by someone with biblical wisdom. An ability to listen This might be one of the most important and often ignored congregational desires.
Competence Ministry can be spiritualized in a way that undermines the need for competent clergy. Vision So many churches flail around for decades struggling to pluck a specific direction out of a sea of infinite possibilities. Disciple-building focus Because most churches want to touch more lives, they desire growth. Self-awareness Pastoral ministry comes with temptations. What do you think? Share this: Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Get ministry news and tips Ministry Advice compiles and creates select how-tos, resources, and tools for Christian leaders.
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