SP 2018-03-19T15:18:40+00:00

“Hey Fletch” on Senior Pastor Issues

From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.

Senior Pastor Constantly Bringing Change

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a senior pastor who is constantly bringing change to the church. One week it is a new way to do small groups, and he did this by blowing up our existing Sunday adult fellowships. A week or two later, he is toying with the structure of the worship service. What should I do?

DRF—The issue you raise is one of the “Rate of Change.” Every church has a different coefficient of change, that is the ability to accept and actively adopt new programs and methods. Just as we exegete the Scriptures, so we should exegete the culture of our churches.

As Sam Chand said at an XP-Seminar, “you don’t always recognize culture into you have stepped in it.” Then the soles of your shoes have all the more of the cow pasture on them. Check out Sam’s book, “Culture Catalyst: Seven Strategies To Bring Positive Change To Your Organization” 

Bringing this up to the Senior Pastor may be delicate. Perhaps you can show to him some of the culture pain that is happening. Work on the timing of cultural changes … most congregations will change, given the right perspective and their needed amount of “absorption time.” I’ve asked Sam to respond …

Sam Chand’s Response: First of all please know that your Pastor is normal. The tendency of most Pastors can be to find places and spaces in the church to jump-start and relaunch. It’s tactical (focus on activity) but not strategic (focus on organization). So it becomes more of a trial and error and not impact and outcomes based. Your Pastor is a good Pastor who is not complacent, not afraid of shaking things up and wants the church to grow.

He can accomplish much more however if he takes into account the church’s pain threshold for making changes. In my book “Leadership Pain” I break it down simply as:

Growth = Change

Change = Loss

Loss = Pain

Therefore Growth = Pain

Establishing a culture in which the “why” behind the “what” is not only understood but can be easily articulated is crucial. In my book “Culture Catalyst” I break down the word CULTURE to make it tangible as:

C = Control

U = Understanding

L = Leadership

T = Trust

U = Unafraid

R = Responsive

E = Execution

You and your church can get a free diagnosis and prescription at www.samchandculturesurvey.com. You’ll get 8 pages free, giving you the empirical data explanation and assistance for each item. Your Pastor can move from tactical to strategic and then he can lead with focus on sustainability (making changes last) and scalability (using changes to grow).

I know you love, support and pray for your Pastor…keep doing it. Thanks for this opportunity to respond.

Should the SP & XP Both Report to the Board

Monday, February 26, 2018

Hey Fletch … Have been an XP for nearly 20 years and I’m curious on your thoughts on organizational structure of the SP/XP positions. I’ve twice been in the “2nd chair” position, organizationally under the SP, and once things start to go bad I’m the vulnerable one that loses his job when the fault is elsewhere. I’ve seen an org chart that has SP and XP as co-equals organizationally. Clearly the SP is still visionary leader, but the XP reports to the Elders, not the SP. The XP supports the SP but not as likely to have SP try to terminate if both are accountable to the Elders.

DRF—It gets down into the culture of churches. There are a some churches that have the XP and SP report to the board. I haven’t kept a list of them; that would have been nice! They seem to work well. However it is a paradigm shift for the American church. As a nation we are “one leader” focused. All responsibility and authority tends to go to one person, not to a team of leaders. There are some church plants who are changing this. You get two equal guys who plant the church. Otherwise, you are trying to change decades of culture—and many people resist that.

SP is Ready for an XP

Friday, February 23, 2018

Hey Fletch … 21 years ago God gave me the privilege of leading a team to plant our church. Thank you for your ministry to XPs around the world. We are looking for our first Executive Pastor. To this point I have largely played both roles since I have some XP-like gifting, as a result, I think I have held the church back, and am ready to focus purely on being the Senior Pastor. With your vast experience, would love your wisdom on how best to go about this, and weigh the factors you are very aware of—internal hire vs. external; someone I know and trust vs. highly skilled person I do not know. Do we use a search firm? Feel free to direct me to resources on your robust website.

DRF—There is plenty to unpack in your questions. They are deep and have so many implications. You have been flying at tree top level for many years. Tactics are great but you need to be at the strategic and visionary level 99% of the time. You will need someone that you completely trust to run the organization. Letting go of tactics will be a challenge as it is part of your wiring. But, you know that you need to focus on preaching, leadership and vision. Trust is going to be the key ingredient between you and your XP. Second will be your ability to disengage from important issues and focus on only the vital. Your biggest “enemies” will be yourself and the tyranny of the urgent.

I would be pleased to talk with you. The first call is no charge, if you need help after that, we can work on a consulting arrangement. Check out this popular article on our Key Articles page, Three Kinds of Executive Pastors. It has helped many churches evaluate the kind of XP that they need. I’m looking forward to talking with you!