Manpower: People are selected and placed in positions that fit their gifts, passions and callings and that align with the church’s objectives and culture

How One Church Supports Their Senior Pastor

In my role as a church consultant and clergy coach I am continually amazed to discover the lack of intentionality in churches of all sizes in providing encouragement, support and accountability for the Senior Pastor.

I am convinced that much of the pastor burn out, frustration, terminations, poor performance and dysfunction so prevalent in today’s churches could be mitigated if church leaders assumed the care, support and growth of their pastor was part of their responsibility.

Below is an approach one church has found effective in assuming this responsibility. Use it as a guide for developing a more intentional approach to supporting your Senior Pastor.

Senior Pastor Accountability and Support

 It is the desire of the Church Elders to provide the Senior Pastor with the support, encouragement, resources and accountability that enables him to flourish and grow as a family, spiritual and organizational leader.

Towards this end the Church Elders will provide the Senior Pastor the following:

  1. A Spiritual Mentor to encourage spiritual growth and health
  2. An Executive Leadership Coach to encourage development and growth as an organizational leader and provide third party perspective on church issues and decisions
  3. A Counselor-Therapist to assist in addressing any family of origin and/or current family issues or relationships that might impact behavior
  4. An Accountability and Support Team consisting of three members of the Elders to serve as encouragers, to offer counsel, assist in establishing annual goals, conduct quarterly reviews and an annual performance appraisal, and to recommend compensation

The Senior Pastor will work with The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team to identify people for the above roles, determine frequency of engagement, and recommend an annual budget for their services.

Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team Guidelines

Membership: The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team will consist of three members of the Church Elders selected by the Senior Pastor in collaboration with the Chairman of Elders and approved by the Church Elders.

Terms: No member shall serve more than 3 years or less than 2 years. Members will be chosen so that no more than one member roles off in a given year.

Officers: The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team will annually elect a Chairman who is responsible for calling and facilitating meetings and communicating feedback to the Church Elders.

Meetings: The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team will meet as needed but no less than every other month at a time mutually beneficial to the Senior Pastor and team members.

Agendas: The Chairman will work with the Senior Pastor in advance of the meeting to determine an agenda. Items for discussion may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Family
  • Health
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Accomplishments
  • Challenges; Issues; Frustrations
  • Status against goals
  • Reporting on visits with Mentor, Coach, Counselor
  • Strengths/Weaknesses
  • New initiative vetting
  • Vision and strategic planning
  • Sermon Series
  • Staffing
  • Relationships
  • Processes/Systems
  • Elder Meeting Agendas
  • Counsel
  • Member/Leader/Staff feedback
  • Time Away
  • Schedule; Time allocation
  • Self-development/Areas for improvement
  • Budget; Funding
  • Evaluation
  • Encouragement
  • Prayer requests

Performance Management: The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team will work with the Senior Pastor to:

  • Determine, document and approve annual time away and work schedule
  • Establish and document annual focuses, goals and standards during the same time frame as the Ministerial Staff to be approved by the Church Elders
  • Receive and review a documented status report against those focuses, goals and standards at least quarterly, discuss necessary adjustments and share a report with the Church Elders
  • Consult with the Executive Pastor in the development of an appropriate annual performance appraisal tool and implement and document a performance evaluation
  • Use the Performance Rating Scale and Merit Raise Matrix developed by the Executive Pastor and Personnel Committee, to recommend an annual merit raise
  • Use the quarterly reviews and annual performance appraisal to design and document a self-development plan and budget for the coming year; if necessary, design, document and implement a performance improvement plan

Reporting: The Chairman of The Senior Pastor Accountability and Support Team will present a summary report of the team’s conversations and recommendations to the Church Elders, in executive session, no less frequent than quarterly.


Posted on February 2, 2016

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5