They Studied My Job

Leadership Network commissioned a study of Executive Pastors written by Warren Bird and Colleen Pepper. This is of interest to me because I am the Executive Pastor at Crossroads Bible Church. I’m pretty sure that few will actually be interested in the download (free, but you have to register), but it’s nice to see that I’m not alone in the joys and frustrations of this emerging position. The title seems to be applied to ministry staff in several different ways by different churches but in most cases it refers to someone with a high level of oversight and broad responsibility, most like a COO, or Chief of Staff, which is probably most like my position at Crossroads. It is interesting to see some common threads coming together among those holding this relatively new position in the church. By the way, I did participate in the study along with 554 others.

While most people in the pews are familiar with the roles and duties of a teaching pastor or a worship pastor, executive pastors are a relatively new addition to contemporary church culture. Often seen only infrequently in a weekly worship setting, the executive pastor role is one that is still misunderstood amongst many church members-and for that matter, even among other church staff.

I certainly wouldn’t use this study to analyze any one XP (shorthand for Executive Pastor) – especially me, but there are points that I think are dead on. For example, Bird and Pepper write about spiritual gifts. I think mine fit right in there.

When executive pastors are asked to identify their top three spiritual gifts, the results are surprisingly similar, regardless of church size. Among churches with 2,000 or more weekly attenders, “leadership”, “administration” and “teaching” come out on top, followed by “discernment”. For churches drawing 500-1,999 attenders, the ranking varies only slightly, with “administration”, “leadership” and “teaching” topping the list, followed by “discernment” and “wisdom”.

OK, enough about me. Time to read another blog. Mark Wheeler always makes me think.


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