Landing a Job: 5 Ways the New Hire Can Avoid the Mire and Get Along With the Senior Pastor

Landing a Job: 5 Ways the New Hire Can Avoid the Mire and Get Along With the Senior Pastor

January 27, 2014 by

The new year might be time for a new job or a first job in church communication. Our new series focuses on that journey—landing a job. We’ve talked about the process of finding work in a church, what to expect and more. Today we’ll talk about how to get along with senior leadership at your church once you get the job.

For the past 13 years I’ve been involved in full-time ministry, and have had the opportunity to work at two churches and been under four different senior leaders, as well as being over ministry leaders. Each senior leader has led differently, therefore I’ve had to discover how to communicate effectively and how to get along with them based on their personality and leadership style. But no matter who the pastor has been, I’ve had to develop these five habits:

1. Walk Them Through the Process
Whether you are designing a killer new website, developing a social media strategy or helping the women’s ministry promote their ladies’ tea effectively, be sure to communicate the why behind these decisions to your senior pastor. Let them know why you chose a specific color, your feelings and thought behind it. If you are deciding to create an Instagram account, they may think you are just chasing the next best thing unless you explain why you think it’s a great idea. Tell them how you think it would help fulfill the vision.

2. Offer Solutions With the Problems
Don’t be the staff person who is always bringing up problem after problem to your pastor. They have a lot on their plate and the last thing they want or need is you piling on. Sure there are issues that your leader needs to know about, but what if every time you saw a problem you either 1) dealt with it, and let them know later, or 2) explain the problem but also present a solution.

3. Understand the Weight on Their Shoulders
As a senior leader they are responsible for x, y and z. Do whatever you can to help ease that burden. Is there something you can do that is even outside of your “job description?” Your number one role is to help fulfill the vision of your senior pastor, and that may be stepping outside your position to get the “overall” job done.

4. Ask Questions
I’ve yet to meet a senior pastor who doesn’t like to talk. I guess it’s just part of their DNA. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Personal conversations and relationships go a long way toward forming a good working relationship with your senior leadership. Here are five great questions you should be asking:

  • Can you help me understand what matters most to you in helping the church succeed? Please clarify the win. How can I help with that?
  • Can we brainstorm together about how we can best communicate to our church and our community?
  • Can I show you several different ways our culture communicates? Can I show you examples of how our church could be involved in these forms of communication (social media, print, video, etc.)?
  • Can I give you examples of how long certain communication projects take so you have an idea of how much advance time we will need to compile a project? (Give examples of video project, email blast, sermon series design, etc.)
  • Can you help me understand our communication budget? (Provide cost examples of different projects that may be a typical project you would work on in the future.)

5. Show Appreciation
Senior leaders are usually the most under appreciated person at the church, except for during the token “Pastor Appreciation” month (which is in October, in case you’re wondering). Did your pastor hit a home run on a Sunday message? If so shoot them an email telling them. Are you taking a family vacation or missions trip somewhere? Grab them a Starbucks mug or a touristy item, just to let them know you are thinking of them. Don’t be a suck up, but find simple ways to show your appreciation.

Getting along with your boss is important in any job, but it’s an especially important relationship in church communication.


Post By:

Evan Courtney

Evan Courtney is a family life pastor and communications director in the middle of the Illinois cornfields at The Fields Church. He’s a graphic designer, media consultant and social media manager.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

Comments are closed.

Church Business, Featured

, ,