What exactly does a pastor do?

Most pastors have had this question posed to him or her at one time or another during their career. I suspect that some, in particular those who are new to the church and her work, are simply at a loss as to what the work of a pastor entails beyond what they see on a Sunday morning.
Two factors contribute to me writing on this particular subject. First, as we continue to move ahead as a church we have given a considerable amount of time and effort to defining our vision and values as a community of faith. We have done this in order to make clear what we are called to do by God and to determine how we will set out to accomplish it. As a part of this process we re-evaluated the role of our church staff in order to align our roles with the clarity that has emerged from this process.
Second, it is a significant contributor to the health of our church to have our staff work not only toward the common goal for which the church exists, but to employ our gifts and strengths, as far as possible, toward that end.  It is important to clarify that, in a congregation like ours, the work of the church cannot be completed by the paid staff only. Healthy churches exist where strong lay ministry roles are fulfilled by people with a passion to serve and who possess the necessary gifts that fit various ministry roles.  In combination with the pastoral and administrative staff, the lay ministry team forms the foundation for leadership within a church community and together are able to pursue her vision while maintaining health.
Below is an overview of the roles and responsibilities of both pastors and that of our administrative assistant.

Senior Pastor (Stuart Williams):

  1. Preaching and teaching:

Preaching and teaching ministries include the following: prayer, research and study, writing and presentation. This extends to weekly sermons, weekly pre-service Bible study, weekly discipleship class, once a month board devotional, weekly staff meeting devotionals, and occasional request to preach and teach in other venues. 

  1. Pastoral care:

Pastoral care involves pre-marital counseling (6-8 sessions per couple), marital counsel (as needed), crisis counseling, hospitalization visits, follow up with new believers, visitation of seniors, mediation, spiritual direction, pastoral counsel, drop in care, officiating weddings & funerals. 

  1. Leadership development:

Leadership development includes: Quarterly meeting with all ministry leaders for training and development, bi-monthly meeting with respective ministry leaders; annual church board and ministry leaders retreat; one on one consultation with and mentorship of lay persons and leaders, & overseeing practicum and internship students preparing for ministry throughout an academic school year when requested. 

  1. Church administration:

Church administration includes oversight of all ministries of Skyview Church. This requires preparation for and scheduling of monthly church board meetings, review of church finances, overseeing the process of election of church board members & ministry leaders, the establishment and oversight of various sub-committees, annual reporting to the district assembly, oversight and administration pertaining to church staff, and the daily correspondence pertaining to the work of the church in general. 

  1. Continuing education:

Our denomination encourages all of its pastors to be lifelong learners. In order to do so I attend seminars, take seminary courses when possible, and commit to studying and research to keep growing in my understanding of pastoral leadership, organizational health, culture and mission.

Associate Pastor (Geoff DeJager):

  1. Children’s Ministry Coordinator/Pastor:

Children's Ministry includes leading and coordinating the children's ministry team, working towards a collective vision for our children's ministry. The ministry structure will remain the same with a lay-leadership team maintaining the primary classroom leadership.    

  1. Discipleship Programs/Initiatives:

Discipleship ministry includes overseeing and implementing programs and initiatives on a yearly basis based upon the overall discipleship plan of the church. This will include offerings in the areas of: a) Spiritual formation, b) Evangelism and Mission, c) Introduction to the church and its vision & values, and d) Spiritual leadership, etc. 

  1. Preaching and Weekly Service Planning/Leadership:

The Associate Pastor serves as a support role to the Senior Pastor, who provides overall leadership in this area. Roles include preaching when the Senior Pastor is away, to give a different perspective during a series, or to enable the Senior Pastor to focus elsewhere during a demanding week. The Associate Pastor will plan and coordinate the Intergenerational service every month that has a 5th Sunday throughout the year. 

  1. Pastoral Care: 

As the Sr. Pastor provides oversight of all care ministry within the church, the Associate Pastor will give priority to families with children as well as lay ministry workers within children’s ministry and their families. Where necessary the Associate Pastor will also be called upon to a) provide spiritual care to people in crisis, b) pastoral follow up on new visitors or members leaving, c) pastoral guidance through rites of passage such as baptism, membership, births, weddings and deaths, and d) leadership in our prayer ministry. 

  1. Continuing education/Spiritual reading/Soul Care:

As with the Sr. Pastor, this includes utilizing courses, workshops, or conference offerings, reading material, and other spiritual exercises/activities that foster professional and personal development.

Administrative Assistant (Melaina Graham):

The primary role of the administrative assistant is to be responsible for the general administrative duties pertaining to the ministry of the church. 

  1. Communication

One of the key functions of the administrative assistant is to ensure that information is passed along efficiently and accurately throughout the various ministry structures and leadership within the church and to the church constituency at large. This takes place via written and electronic communication, telephone, via social media, church website and our weekly worship bulletin and monthly newsletter. 

  1. Scheduling

As a church who rents space the task of requesting and ensuring that space is available for church events, meetings, and programs is done via the administrative assistant. In addition to requesting and booking meeting space, the admin assistant is also responsible for maintaining a church wide calendar to ensure that booking and programming conflicts are avoided and proper planning and scheduling of church related events take place. 

  1. Recording

The administrative assistant is also responsible for the recording of tithing and offering contributions, cheque writing and distribution, reconciling church Visa payments with invoices, and the annual distribution of tax receipts. The administrative assistant also serves as the recording person at the monthly church board meeting and is responsible for the gathering and distribution of respective ministry reports for these meetings. 

  1. General administrative task

On a weekly basis the administrative assistant ensures that a worship bulletin is prepared, printed and published. She also assists with the online submission of the annual pastors report to the denomination, the preparation and organization of our annual general meeting, preparation of ballots for election, photocopying and filing of information, and attends a weekly staff meeting. She also sends out cards and flowers on behalf of the church where needed. 

  1. Special Projects

Special projects include producing various printed materials for specific events, church directory updates, and responding to specific requests from the pastoral staff regarding sermon series information and promotion.
I encourage you to continue to pray us as staff. It is our sincere desire to lead well and serve the Lord faithfully through our respective roles. If you have any questions concerning the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In Christ,
Pastor Stuart