3 Things NOT To Do When You Become Senior Pastor

You have just been named Senior Pastor. Your dream job! Now you can set the agenda and everything will run smoothly. You vow you will not make the mistakes you have seen in churches where you have served as an assistant. You may have even picked up some qualities from your mentor that you think will work when you run into problems.

But hold on. Not too fast.


Whatever you do, do NOT do the following:

1) Do NOT Play Favorites – As senior pastor of a new church, it is easy to surround yourself with people you perceive as your biggest supporters, even though you started out as having the intention of being pastor to the entire congregation. Be mindful of calling on the same people over and over and not including people in your congregation who aren’t up in your face all the time.

Be inclusive! Reach out into the congregation and engage. Do you know everyone’s name? Or at least do you recognize their faces when you see them around town?

2) Do NOT Talk About Your Parishioners From The Pulpit – It will not endure you to anyone. Visitors may say, “Wow! What an angry person! I’ll go elsewhere!” Regular members may say, “Who is being talked about? I was thinking about volunteering in a ministry, but I’ll just wait and see.” The person you are talking about will probably find your tirade amusing and say, “Great! I got under your skin. Now I know what to do.”

No one understands smoke signals. Therefore, no one wins. If you have something to say, go the person you have a problem with and discuss it. Don’t include the entire congregation in your disagreement.

3) Do NOT Get Into Physical Altercations With Your Parishioners – No matter how much or how often you are provoked, DON’T fight. It is better to walk away. You don’t want to end up on the evening news or as a headline in newspapers. And you certainly don’t want to be a trending topic online. If you lose your cool, think about the consequences. What about your reputation? What about your representation of Christ?

You might want to be the talk of the town, but not this way!

There are other things you should NOT do, but these three will get you started. Take them to heart.

This is straight talk from the pulpit!


Read my story in Woman In The Pulpit to see what challenges I encountered when I became Senior Pastor of Hopewell Church.



Author: Rev. Dr. Grace

I am the pastor of Hopewell Church in a small town in Tennessee. I will be talking about the challenges female ministers face as they navigate their role in the church.

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