Five Priorities of the Senior Pastor

If you’re the senior pastor of a small town church, your job description normally comes in one of two forms. The first is a long list of duties including everything from preaching to landscaping. And the second is similar except that nothing is actually written down, you just do whatever the congregation demands of you.


It would be funny, if it weren’t true. I’ve learned in ministry sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Yet, these are the expectations many churches place on their senior pastor. It’s no wonder less than fifteen percent of pastors will last long enough to retire from ministry.

Those who don’t burn out, end up wore out trying to live up to this impossible role. Many of them lose their passion, their effectiveness, and even their families.

What if there was a better way to look at the role of senior pastor, a more effective way? What if the senior pastor could accomplish more by doing less?

What if we narrowed the senior pastor’s job description to these five priorities?

  1. Be the primary weekend communicator.

Concentrate on preparing and delivering between 40-45 sermons a year that are unique, creative, and applicable.

  1. Be the chief vision-caster.

Spend time capturing the vision for your church and communicating it to the congregation.

  1. Be the primary fundraiser.

Raise money for the ongoing ministry of the church through speaking with large groups, small groups, and one on one conversations.

  1. Be a ministries’ champion.

Be outspoken about the amazing ministries within the church in order to create excitement and involvement.

  1. Be a person of integrity who is faithful to their spouse and family.

Most importantly, love your spouse and kids more than you love the church, and live a life of integrity.

I have no doubt that if we all adopted a similar job description for senior pastors that we would see a healthier more vibrant church, because we would have healthier more passionate pastors.

Is there anything else that a senior pastor must do? What did I forget? Please let me know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, strategy, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

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2 thoughts on “Five Priorities of the Senior Pastor

  1. Ada

    Hi Steven, one more important task for a senior pastor is raising and trainingAda leaders that can fully represent Jesus and himself. it will make his work easier if he has capable leaders to delegate some responsibilities to.

    1. tds0249

      Ada, you’re absolutely right. Senior pastors do need to be responsible for raising up leaders. Once they have a good team around them, they can delegate some of this responsibility out. As an XP, I feel leadership development is one of my main priorities.

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