The Nuts and Bolts of Writing Job Descriptions

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The Nuts and Bolts of Writing Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are written documents that facilitate good communication about what a person is to be doing and focusing on. If they are well thought through, well written, and referred to often, job descriptions will serve the person and organization well. There are other many titles for Job Descriptions, such as Ministry Position Agreements, Ministry Descriptions or Ministry Agreements.

Steps and Ideas for Creating Job Descriptions

Senior Pastor

Step #1: Focus on the Senior Pastor’s Core Responsibilities

The goal is to provide the Senior Pastor with the optimum work schedule, work environment, work responsibilities, and work load that allows him to best fulfill his God-given calling and bring maximum impact through his leadership. “Who needs an overworked, distracted, Senior Pastor responsible for feeding the sheep the Word of God?”

Helpful questions to ask and answer:

  • Create a “needs list.” What are the needs of our church that require leadership from our pastoral and paid staff?
  • What are the church’s needs that only the Senior Pastor can meet and should meet?” This list of needs becomes his Core Responsibility list.
  • What are the key biblical passages that shed light on the responsibility of a Senior Pastor serving in the 21st century?
  • What is the Senior Pastor best at doing and what is he passionate about doing? If possible, shield him from the rest.

The obvious Core Responsibilities are:

  • Vision development and casting
  • Ensuring the proclamation of biblical truth
  • Development of the ministry of the board
  • Add other Core Responsibilities that are unique to your church

Step #2: Interview the Senior Pastor

Discuss with him the list of Core Responsibilities and ask him to identify the amount of hours and emotional energy it takes to fulfill each of the Core Responsibilities.

Work with him to make a detailed list of the specifics involved in fulfilling each of the Core Responsibilities. It is important that the Board understand their Senior Pastor and how he approaches work.

Work with him to identify a reasonable weekly work schedule to fulfill each of the Core Responsibilities.

Step #3: Write the Document

Take everything into account from Steps #1 and #2.

The framework of the document should at least include the following:

  • Job Title
  • Date of document
  • Frequency of evaluation of the Senior Pastor’s work against the Job Description (quarterly, semi-annual, annual?)
  • General ministry objective of the position
  • General list of character qualities required
  • General list of the Core Responsibilities
  • Second page: Details about character quality and each Core Responsibility

Executive Pastor

Step #1: Focus on the “needs list” of the church

Identify the needs that are not Core Responsibilities of the Senior Pastor. These remaining “needs” form the basis of the Executive Pastor’s remaining responsibilities.

The goal is to provide the Executive Pastor with a clear understanding of his role of supporting the work of the Senior Pastor. His focus is to ensure that the remaining responsibilities of the church are met through his leadership.

His management of resources, including material and personnel, are the primary means for meeting the “needs” of the church.

Helpful questions to ask and answer:

  • What are the remaining church needs that the Executive Pastor can meet and should meet?
  • What are the key biblical passages that shed light on the responsibilities of an Executive Pastor serving in the 21st century?
  • What skills are essential for fulfilling the remaining responsibilities?

The obvious remaining responsibilities are:

  • Leadership development of the staff, both paid and volunteer.
  • Management of the staff, both paid and volunteer.
  • Oversight of the resources of the organization.
  • Alignment of ministries and resources with the vision of the church.
  • Add other Core Responsibilities that are unique to your church.

A suggestion is to organize the remaining responsibilities into the 5 People Pattern functions:

  • Mentor
  • Administrator
  • Catalyst
  • Relational
  • Overseer

Step #2: Write the Document

Take everything into account from Step #1.

The framework of the document should at least include the following:

  • Job Title
  • Date of document
  • Frequency of evaluation of the Executive Pastor’s work against the Job Description (quarterly, semi-annual, annual?)
  • General ministry objective of the position
  • General list of character qualities required
  • General list of the remaining responsibilities

Second page: Detailed list of each character quality and each remaining responsibility.

Conclusion

Use the steps and write your document. Then, rewrite the document. Don’t show it to anyone, but rewrite it. Next, let the people for each role (SP or XP) review the document. Then, edit it again!

By | 2016-10-12T11:00:24+00:00 January 31st, 2013|Job Descriptions, Staff Policy|

About the Author:

Nathan Baxter
Dr. Nathan Baxter, founder of Lead Self Lead Others, has been leading teams and helping people move their stories forward for over twenty years. He has developed a unique coaching practice and resources that help people break out of plateaus. He has had the privilege of working with executives from fields as diverse as manufacturing, real estate, medical, banking, non-profit, direct sales, church, legal, insurance and energy. Dr. Baxter has also provided training for leaders around the world including Ukraine, Mali West Africa, South America, India and Mexico. As a certified consultant with Birkman International, Lead Self Lead Others also provides personalized leadership coaching using the Birkman Feedback Tool. Nathan earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Administration from Oklahoma State University, a Masters of Divinity Degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry and Leadership Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before starting his Executive Coaching career, he served for 28 years in full time ministry, filling the roles of Youth Pastor, Senior Pastor, and Executive Pastor.