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The Role of "Lead Pastor" Part 2

Yesterday I posted an article about the key responsibilities of a lead pastor.

I mentioned that the lead pastor of the 21st century has four key roles:

1.  The primary pulpit communicator.

2.  The primary caster and communicator of the vision

3.  The primary leader developer

4.  The primary missiologist

If you haven’t done so, please read that post before reading the remainder of this one.

Today, allow me to expand on each of these four:

I am complementarian in my theology, so will speak of He as the lead pastor.

1. The primary pulpit communicator

I believe that the lead pastor leads the church via the weekend preaching. He teaches, sets an example, shares his life, creates the culture and speaks to where the church is going in the future through his regular preaching.

He leads the church through the pulpit, but not only through the pulpit. What happens between Sundays is just as important (if not more) as what happens on Sundays. Nonetheless, Sunday/Saturday is when (more than likely) the largest group of people will be present for him to influence for the kingdom.

I believe a church does well when there is one clearly identifiable preacher who carries the bulk of the pulpit load.  I know there are churches that are moving toward team teaching where there are multiple communicators who share the preaching responsibility; however, I don’t personally think that is the best way to go about it.

Nor do I think that a lead pastor should burn himself out by preaching 52 Sundays a year.  I would not go so far as to state exactly how many Sundays he should occupy the pulpit, for he does need a few Sundays off each year if, for no other reason than to allow other aspiring teachers/preachers to hone their craft.

2. The primary caster and communicator of the vision

“Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverb 29:18 KJV). Spinning off this, someone said, where there is no vision the people find another parish. Sad, but true. People want to know what their church is all about, where it is  headed and what kind of influence and impact their leaders are dreaming of, praying about and planning toward.  Vision needs to be caught from the Lord by the leader. Then that leader needs to cast, communicate, coordinate and coach people toward that God-given vision. This takes a good deal of time and focused intentionality as people forget the big picture and tend to make activities and programs the end rather than the means to the end.

3. The primary leader developer

There are many dying and plateaued churches out there and one of the significant contributors to this is the fact that there is no thought-through plan and process to identify, train and place new leaders. I run into this all the time in my travels.

The lead pastor needs to have a burden for younger leaders who aspire to and are gifted to lead. He doesn’t need to do all the developing himself, but he does need to lead the charge in this and have a few he himself is pouring into (2 Timothy 2:2).

Leadership development should be one of the core values of every church that seriously takes Jesus’ command to preach the gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). The rest of my life is dedicated to helping equip and empower the next generation of leaders in local churches by coaching, teaching and writing.

4. The primary missiologist

The lead pastor needs to carve out chunks of time to be out in the community mixing it up with people the church is trying to reach. He should be discovering and sharing what the target group values, the music they listen to, the books they read, the magazines they subscribe to and the hobbies they have.

He needs to acquaint himself with the pain, the problems and the frustrations that the average person they are trying to reach is dealing with. He doesn’t need to necessarily be a gifted evangelist, but he does need to deeply love and care about lost people and be gaining understanding in how to be relevant in reaching them with the gospel. He needs to understand the culture and know the Bible says about the culture. See 1st Chronicles 12:32 in this regard.

All of the above should be accomplished through a team of people who complement the lead pastor’s gifts, temperament and passion. It’s too much for one man to carry alone (Exodus 18:13-27). No man has all the gifts, or enough time, to do everything by himself. Through the years many have tried, but their track record is not good.

So, you can see how the above four responsibilities are pretty major and constitute a full- time job. To be effective, these are to be accomplished as the pastor is led by the Lord,  empowered by the Holy Spirit and honoring the one who called and sent him into vocational ministry. 

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