Some Thoughts on the “Senior Pastor” Idea

December 21, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Questions for Pastor Glenn, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PJ Tibayan has written a number of posts on the idea of a “senior pastor” in church.  I just ran across these today.  I agree with most all his arguments and conclusions.  Here is an article that links many of his thoughts.

I had to comment because of the unique roll I play here at Village:

These comments and links are great.  For years I’ve disagreed with the senior pastor idea for many of the reasons you cite here.  Currently I am the “Preaching Pastor” at a Baptist church in Colorado.  We are an elder led church with four lay elders and two pastor or full-time elders.  The other full time pastor handles education, counseling and administration.  I teach and preach.  I also lead the staff meetings and prepare the agenda for the elder meetings.  I’ve been here for over seven years, and so far, it has worked well.  I have three observations about this arrangement that you might find interesting.

First, no mater how often it is explained, I am viewed by many as “the” pastor or as the “lead pastor,” because I am the one up front.  Some people have even challenged the arrangement saying, “but certainly you are (or in some cases, must be) the leader of the others.”  The idea of lead/senior pastor is so engrained in the minds of Christians in this culture, that they can’t understand what we believe is the biblical model.

Second, some church growth experts will tell us that this team approach to ministry is a slow and inefficient way to make decisions.  With that I must agree.  However, I have seen too many abuses of the one-man-in-charge approach, and I know the depths of my own depravity, so I don’t want to be the one man in charge.  I would rather be inefficient and right, than efficient and wrong.

Third, for this model to work, everyone must be a team player.  Any pastor who thinks he is in charge, or thinks he should be in charge, could never work in a real elder-team environment.  Unfortunately, I have met way too many men in ministry who take a “God called me, so I am the leader” approach to the church.  That attitude ignores the seriousness of sin.

Blessings in Jesus,


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