Archives For Church Leadership

Many pastors feel they are vocationally locked in to ministry, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every pastor has skills that can land a job elsewhere. The secret is to present them in a professional business resume that makes sense to a hiring manager.

Close-up Photo Of A Businesswoman Holding Resume

Here are seven steps to telling your professional story and preparing yourself to enter the secular job market. And yes, you can do this.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known as a civil rights leader and as a great orator. His iconic speech, “I Have a Dream,” is one of the greatest pieces of oratory in American history.


Yet before he was either a civil rights leader or orator, King was a preacher. He was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., and preached widely in other pulpits.

Today’s pastors can learn a great deal from King, the preacher.

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She sat in my office, tight-lipped, teary, determined not to allow years’ worth of anger to boil into some sort of scene. “It’s taken me a long time to get this far,” she said. “But I think I’m finally ready to do this.”

“This” was re-joining the church after a lapse of maybe five years. Why now? Because her husband, a veteran pastor who had been in a non-parish assignment was ready to accept an appointment. If that were to happen, she would have to rejoin the denomination he served.

So, for the sake of her husband’s career, she was willing, finally, to move beyond the emotional beating she’d taken from a previous congregation and make her peace with the local church.

And that, right there, explains the unique challenge of being a pastor’s wife, something many churches and even some pastors do not understand.

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Your church website conveys lots of messages about your congregation, including some you may not be aware of. That’s particularly true when it comes to presenting pastor and staff member information.

What does your church website say about you?

While visiting hundreds of church websites in connection with a research project, I discovered that there is no such thing as a typical church site. I’ve seen everything from high-end, custom designs to Facebook pages to no web presence at all. Yes, really. About 24 percent of the churches I examined had no web presence.

Likewise, there’s a gamut of approaches to presenting information about the senior leader and staff (or not).

All of them are fine, so long as you know who you are and what you’re communicating through your pastor’s bio. I’m convinced that many pastors have little idea what the “Our Staff” page actually says about them and their congregations.

Here are some of the most common approaches.

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The standard advice to pastors these days is that they should under no circumstances do pastoral care. That’s been de rigueur in leadership circles since the late ’80s when John Maxwell began telling church growth conferees, “I don’t do hospital calls.”

The theory is that anybody can do pastoral care, so the pastor’s time is better spent energizing the leaders within the congregation. The sooner the pastor hands off hospital calling to small group leaders, the sooner the church will break attendance barriers.

Pastor visiting the hospital

Pastoral ministry doesn’t scale, which is why it’s taboo among pastors who style themselves as (or already are) leaders of a large organization. There’s no way for one person to do all the pastoral care for a congregation of 20,000 people. It’s a black hole that sucks time and energy without adding to attendance, so successful pastors avoid it.

I couldn’t care less.

Ministry of Word and sacrament is the primary task of a pastor. Here’s why every single one of them should be a pastoral care giver.

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Christian leaders often lament the rate at which young people are leaving the church, but few seem to have noticed that many of those who do stay have accepted a non-orthodox version of the Christian message.

Man Holding Sign That Says BlessedIn other words, many Christian teens aren’t really Christians. It’s time to face that, and do something about it.

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Yesterday a gunman entered a community college classroom in Oregon, shot and killed the teacher, then told students to stand up, one by one, and state their religion.

To those who said Christian, he replied “Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.” He killed 10 people.1

Killer With GunAs a minister, as a Christian, as a citizen of the United States, I’m appalled by this senseless act of violence, by the Charleston shooting, by the 262 other mass shootings in our country this year, and by the culture that supports it.

It’s time for change.

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