Thom-RainerAfter about a quarter of a century of church consultations, I have dealt with a plethora of church staff matters. I continue to hear many of the same themes since I left church consultation.

Today I present the top 10 issues from the senior pastor’s perspective. In an upcoming post, I will offer 10 issues from the church staff perspective. My desire in writing these two blog posts is to offer a positive framework and to allow church staff today, and pastors on Saturday, to have the best possible work relationships.

  1. Have a strong work ethic. This encouragement expressed by pastors about the staff was pervasive.
  1. Be loyal. Pastors do not expect blind loyalty, but they do want to know that a staff member has his back.
  1. Execute well. It’s great if the staff member is full of ideas and dreams, but he or she should also be excellent at accomplishing a task.
  1. Work on personality chemistry. Sometimes the chemistry is just not good. Most pastors understand that this issue is two-way, and both parties need to work at liking each other.
  1. Champion the same vision. Make certain that any vision you may have at the church complements and does not conflict with the vision of the pastor.
  1. Do first the work you were hired to do. Church staff persons typically are hired with specific job descriptions. Make certain those ministries and tasks are accomplished first.
  1. Be careful about accepting a position that had no senior pastor input. Some churches do not allow the pastor to have a say in the hiring of staff members. This approach can be problematic. The pastor has a staff member he did not have input on, nor did he request. Conflict is highly common in these situations.
  1. Work to have healthy relationships with other staff members. Unity among the staff members is vital.
  1. Work to have healthy relationships with church members. The pastor is usually the person that gets involved if these relationships are not healthy.
  1. Attend all staff meetings if possible. I’ve been surprised how often I’ve heard this one. My advice to church staff members: Don’t miss staff meetings.

Most churches have staff with very healthy relationships. It is my prayer that this list of 10 items from several pastors’ perspective will help. Next week, we will look at this same issue from the church staff’s perspective.

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. This post originally appeared at

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