XP 2018-03-19T15:15:36+00:00

“Hey Fletch” on XP 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.

Business Guy Doesn’t Know Church

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hey Fletch … We hired an XP about a year ago and he is killing us. He is gruff, direct and all business. He doesn’t get what it means to be a pastor. Help!

DRF—Many new Executive Pastors come from the business world. They are used to making decisions, corporate policy and a fast pace. I wrote a “Hey Fletch” on ‘The Church Moves as Glacial Speed.’ You may want to read it and give it to him.

The only problem to comparing the church to a glacier is that it does a horrible disservice to glaciers! The first thing that a corporate type needs to learn is that the church has all its stakeholders present every Sunday. Companies rarely gather all their owners, stockholders and customers together at one place, let alone every week. Church members deeply care about how the campus looks, changes that are made, using the facility for their group and how communication is shared on Sundays and in email.

Pastors are a different breed of cat. Most pay for seminary on their own. Who gets lucrative stock options to put into a retirement account? There is often little job security when new leadership comes to a church. Pastors are leading the charge of a spiritual war—praying with grieving families, counseling a teen who is suicidal, teaching the Word with conviction, discipling people through challenging situations.

Here are some things you can do. Invite your XP into your ministry. Take them on a youth trip to Mexico. Grab their hand and bring them for a day into the local homeless shelter with you. Ask them to join you in a challenging “on call” situation. Take them to lunch and share the challenges of your ministry.

Your XP is on a steep learning curve, just as you were when you first entered ministry!

Worship Pastor for 30+ Years Wants to be an XP

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve been on the phone with a friend where my son is on staff. He suggested that I reach out to you. I’ve served 30+ years in Worship Ministry at large Baptist churches and have been on the executive team for each church. Also, I was 8 years in a secular business. I am feeling a call to move toward the role of Executive Pastor and want to see what opportunities are available. Would it be possible to talk further about next steps?

DRF—First let me say that I would be pleased to visit with you. You have great experience in executive level leadership in significant churches. That will give you plenty of insight and wisdom for the XP role. Having business experience as well is a bonus. 

The XP role is a multi-disciplinary one. A Youth Pastor can specialize in youth and a Worship pastor can specialize in worship. The XP must know how to lead youth and worship pastors, finance, HR, legal, insurance, ministry strategy, budgets, relationships with the governing board, congregational communication—just to name a few.

I would suggest that you read “Three Kinds of XPs.” Discern what type of XP you might be best at. Take the XP-Indicator to see your giftedness as a leader. Then, take a look at the rest of the XPastor site, especially the “First Six Months” items. Finally, take a look at the Great Resumes to see how to share your good ministry  experience with others.

Let me know when you are ready for a phone call.

Key Selection Criteria for Hiring an XP

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am just working to word up some Key Selection Criteria and interview questions to present and get signed off so we can move to advertise the XP position. If you had a few moments to look and comment on the attached Position Description and Selection Criteria, I would value that. Hopefully we will sign off on this with any appropriate amendments on Wednesday this week to begin to advertise and fill the role ASAP.

DRF—I like the way you have described the document, Key Selection Criteria. It is both inclusive and sets your expectations for the role. I would suggest that you put percentages of time in the role description. You have five main areas:

Executive, Human Resources, Pastoral Care, Operations and Evaluation. Over the course of a year, should each of these areas get 20% of the XPs time? Or, will one area get 40%, another 20% and so on?

You will help your future XP by setting out priorities via setting percentages of time. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but guidelines. However, in a review, percentages of time is a great benchmark. Say that you wanted Pastoral Care to get 20% and in the review the new XP said, “I spend 60% of my time there.” Well, you have an issue to work through. Food for thought. Bon Appétit.

Coaching for New XPs

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve heard you might provide coaching for new XPs. If that’s the case, how do you structure the coaching experience and how much does it cost?

DRF—Great to hear from you. Coaching for new XPs is vital! The first year has a huge learning curve. Essentially, the XP role is an interdisciplinary one and XPs have lots of hats to wear. Those hats range from working with the SP & Board, HR to Legal, Operations to Facilities, Tech to Communications, Strategy to Tactics, Annual Reviews to Annual Budgets, Ministry Oversight to working with Ministry Staff.

I see from the church’s website that you are the Senior Pastor. Are you bringing someone in from the outside, promoting a staff person or hiring a congregant? Each one of those scenarios has a completely different flavor.

The structure of coaching always begins with at least two months of weekly phone calls. Depending on the church, I can do a one-day audit to kick start the process. Then, depending on the need, the development process often is in weekly or every other week calls. Assignments are given each week, as that contextualizes the process and enhances the value for the church.

Is this the type of coaching that you are looking to have in your church? As for the price, I tailor that to the church and need—and I try to help growing churches as much as possible.

It would be a joy to help you and hone your church’s ability to serve the King.

Two XPs in Our Church

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m trying to research churches that have a double XP organization. We are thinking of an XP of Operations and an XP of Ministries. We currently have a Lead Pastor and then me, the XP. We want to split up my duties into the operations side and then hire an XP that the other pastors would report to. Currently we have a staff of six pastors including the LP. So the other five report to him, not to me. We want to go with me and the Ministry XP being the only ones that report to the LP. The worship guy, discipleship guy, youth guy and christian school guy would all report up to the Ministry XP. Are we on the right track? 

DRF—Have you read this popular article on XPastor: Three Kinds of Executive Pastors? What you have outlined has been done and can fit … depending on your organizational culture. The key is not overloading the LP with direct reports. If both the XP of Operations and XP of Ministry report to the LP, then the LP needs to do reviews, approve vacations/trips/conferences, etc. If you follow an Acts 6 model of having the LP focus on the Word, preaching, vision and leadership … then you want to give him enough hours to do that. Overseeing those vital staff positions takes time and energy. 

You are doing some great thinking here and are on a good path. Let me know what you decide to do.

Executive Pastor as Dr. No

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hey Fletch … one of the challenges that I face as Executive Pastor is that everyone is pitching things to me. I feel like I’m “Dr. No.” There are tons of good ideas but we can only do so much as a church. Thoughts?

DRF—I know the feeling. I recently got a crazy email asking me to host an event with a local caterer. It was über strange. Part of the role of “top leadership” in a church is to field those emails. Whether from a congregant or the community, you need to respond in a gracious manner. Congregants get longer emails. For a business offer, perhaps save a draft email with a well worded decline that says something like: “Thanks so much for contacting us. We get so many good ideas but we can’t do all of them. I will get back to you if we are able to move forward with your offer.”

Church Grows from 300 to 2,000 in 5 Years

February 17, 2018

Hey David … We have grown from 300 to 2,000 in less than 5 years. Our original Executive Pastor job description was for a smaller church. What do you have as examples of Executive Pastor Job descriptions. What services do you have available for coaching an XP?

DRF—Everyone wants your problem! It’s wonderful. Massive growth is an enormous challenge. You have blown through the culture levels of 600 and 1,200 attenders. Here is a ministry description for an XP of a church of 3,500. When you get to that size, the role description tends to be broad. Specifics go into annual strategic goals and tactical plans, which are highly specific and change from year to year. Other job descriptions can be found here.

I would be pleased to talk about personalized coaching. My style is to do 6 and 12 month engagements. There are specific things that the Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor and Elders need to do … and they radically change when attendance goes from 300 to 2,000 to 3,500.

Who Needs an XP?

January 26, 2018

Hey Fletch … What is the best way to convince a strong Senior Pastor of the necessity for creating an XP role at the church?

DRF—The answer is “complexity.” Strong Senior Pastors understand that! Churches of all sizes deal with complex budgets, the Affordable Care Act, ministry strategy, child safety, security to prevent an active shooter, hiring and termination, legal issues, staff culture, ministry best practices, etc. On “complexity” check out this interview I had with Matt Branaugh of Christianity Today. 

Dan Reiland wrote on XPastor, ‘Who Needs an Executive Pastor, Anyway?’ It is a short and to the point summary of the need. Dan wrote that in 2014. Due to ever increasing “complexity,” in 2018 we are now see the role in ⅔ of churches with between 500-1000 people in worship. I’m still boggled at that statistic. Ask your Senior Pastor how “complexity” has affected your church.