Every XP uses each of the 5 Functions—Administrator, Catalyst, Mentor, Relational, Overseer—in the Executive Pastor role. Yet, each XP will be stronger in some of the functions than others. One XP may be a gifted catalyst, while another is a strong mentor. Yet, both of these XPs need to use the other four functions. Some XPs will have others on staff whose main role is in one of the functions.
Function #1: Administrator
The Administrator and Overseer Functions are two halves of the same pie. The Administrator is the Manager while the Overseer is the Leader (now the difference between manager and leader is a thorny one in literature on executives). The Administrator ensures that the engine is running at full capacity while the Overseer ensures that the car is moving in the right direction. The Administrator is in the category that Peter Drucker calls “Top Management.”
Every XP is part Administrator: The Administrator Function is akin to a church’s Chief Operating Officer. The Administrator often is a liaison between the governing board and others for policy and fiduciary matters. With the Administrator hat, the XP determines staff compensation, ensures budget development and receives advice on legal and insurance issues. The Administrator can serve as a Chief Operating Officer or have a subordinate COO, delegating building management, guiding the master planning process and facilitating hiring architects and contractors. The Administrator can operate as the Chief Financial Officer or have a subordinate CFO, often representing church-wide finances to the governing board and directing capital campaigns to fund new buildings.
Function #2: Catalyst
Every XP is part Catalyst: The Catalyst helps envision, start and empower new ministries. The Catalyst challenges people to volunteer for and to improve ministry and lights fires to get people involved in ministry. The Catalyst networks ministries together to enhance effectiveness, seeks out opportunities for members to share the gospel and creates strategic plans for the church.
Most Senior Pastors want their XPs to be a strong catalyst. This is because most Senior Pastors desire to cast vision and have the XP implement the vision, which includes challenging and reinvigorating ministries.
Resource Questions on the Catalyst Function from Steve Roese:
- What is the ideal?
- What is your church’s ethos?
- What needs to change?
- What will your presence at your church mean long term?
- What do you need to repent of?
- Do you know your staff’s dreams?
- If you could get your church to focus on one thing, what would it be? What is your plan to get there?
- What would you leave your role for …
- How have you set yourself up to be catalyzed?
- What is the single best indicator that I am succeeding at being catalytic?
- What three things keep you from being a catalyst?
- What three things could I do to immediately improve the staff ethos?
Five Key Themes for Catalysts
- Empower members and encourage volunteers!
- Envision and improve ministry
- Light fires and motivate people
- Network ministries
- Strategic plans
Five Catalyst Attitudes and Abilities
- Challenging and exciting
- Daring to change
- “I can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs”
- Liberal to radical
- “Rules? What are they?”
Read “Challenging the Status Quo,” Chapter 4 of Jerry Wofford’s Transforming Christian Leadership.
Wofford’s Exercise on “Leading the Change Process”
On a separate sheet of paper, briefly write out answers to the following questions. When you are satisfied with your ideas, discuss them with others in your church.
- Are there things in the national or local culture that require your church to adapt? If so, list them.
- Are there individual needs of your members that call for new ministries or approaches? If so, note them.
- Are there community needs that your church could address but has not? If so, list them.
- Are there areas of insufficient effectiveness that your church has not addressed? What are they?
- What are some kinds of opportunities and challenges that your church might address? (e.g., in areas of worship, prayer, spiritual growth, church planting, missions, discipleship, evangelism).
- Is there a crisis in your church that demands change? Briefly describe it.
- Do you see your role as that of a change agent? Identify some of the actions that your role (as you see it) should entail.
- Do your church’s needs for change call for reformation or revolution? Explain.
- Do your church leaders exhibit intrinsic motivation for Christian service? Explain.
- What might you do to increase the intrinsic motivation of your church workers?
- Are conflicts in your church constructive or destructive?
- What can you do to resolve destructive conflict?
- Summarize the key stimulants for change in your church; identify what the church could do to meet the needs, exploit the opportunities, or deal with the crises involved; and describe the role that a change agent would need to play.
Read “Stimulating Hearts and Minds,” Chapter 7 of Wofford’s Transforming Christian Leadership.
Excerpts from Wofford’s Exercise on “Stimulating Minds and Hearts”
Every church that has existed for more than a year has traditions. List some of your church’s traditions. Beside each tradition that you listed, identify reasons for its existing, its values to the church, and its hindrances to the church.
Are there cases in which a law or taboo has been applied in your church without an endowment of understanding and love? Discuss.
Is there a person or persons in your church whose word carries the “rule of law?” Why?
- Are there those whose opinions are rarely challenged? Why?
- What are the positive effects of this?
- What are the negative effects of this?
Are new leaders selected in your church because of their creative abilities?
- What is the effect of this?
Is there a leader in the church that consistently models creativity and innovation?
- What are the effects of this on other leaders?
- What are the effects of this on the church life and service?
- Do you feel free to express your new ideas in church meetings? Why?
- What are the effects of this?
What is an example of a discussion in a church meeting in which a person’s assumptions were challenged?
- What was the outcome?
- Was the challenge taken positively or defensively?
- How can defensiveness be avoided?
Does your church have problems getting new ideas put into practice?
- If yes, what causes this?
- What can be done about it?
Do leaders in your church find it difficult to find uninterrupted blocks of time to think and meditate on issues and creative solutions?
- Work out a schedule for next week in which you have at least three hours set aside exclusively for creative thinking on church issues and needs.
- In future weekly plans, try to reserve at least one hour each week for creative thinking.
From Chapters 4 and 7 in Transforming Christian Leadership by Jerry Wofford, Baker Books.
Function #3: Mentor
Every XP is part Mentor: The Mentor can work as the Chief of Staff, supervising staff and evaluating job descriptions. This may entail mentoring key staff and exhorting staff members as deemed necessary. The Mentor hires and terminates staff, except the Senior Pastor, and recruits staff for any position as deemed necessary. The Mentor often runs staff meeting and retreats.
What does a Mentor do? Consider Nathan Baxter: Nathan has taken XP mentoring to new heights by deciding to spend the lion’s share of his weekly schedule in guiding, coaching, and praying with his team members. He meets regularly with leaders in his church to help them improve their leadership skills and confidence. During the hour he spends with each of his leaders, they review together the leader’s personal life, leadership skills, ministry advancement and spiritual life. In addition to one-on-one time, he works with two leadership teams, guiding them to further the ministry of the church while experiencing God and one another. He consistently leads the staff to experience community and move beyond the business of the day.
Function #4: Relational
Every XP is part Relational and shows that through being a Minister: The Minister conducts weddings and funerals, counsels and disciples members, and teaches a class or small group. Some of these activities are done so that the Senior Pastor is free to pursue other ministries.
The Minister may coordinate cases of church discipline with the governing board and may fill the pulpit when the Senior Pastor is away.
The Minister sees the Senior Pastor as the spiritual leader, communicates with the Senior Pastor about church ministry and often serves the Senior Pastor by “taking things off the Senior Pastor’s plate.”
Generally, XPs don’t do a great amount of direct ministry.
Function #5: Overseer
Every XP is part Overseer. As stated about the Administrator Function, “the Administrator and Overseer Functions are two halves of the same pie. The Administrator is the Manager while the Overseer is the Leader (now the difference between manager and leader is a thorny one in literature on executives). The Administrator ensures that the engine is running at full capacity while the Overseer ensures that the car is moving in the right direction.
The Overseer attends meetings of the governing board, perhaps as a member. A key aspect of the Overseer is to implement the policies of the governing board. The Overseer monitors every ministry for the Senior Pastor and governing board and often guards and gives advice on the schedule of the Senior Pastor. The Overseer is in charge of all church ministries, managing ministry by delegated responsibility. A key aspect is that the Overseer implements the vision of the Senior Pastor and fills the position as the “second in command” to the Senior Pastor.
The Strengths of the Overseer Function
Based on hundreds of XPs who have took an indicator that XPastor used to have, called the XP-Indicator, we see certain strengths of XPs (the XP-I measured the Five Functions). There are eight key aspects of the Overseer function.
- Approves Procedures
- Oversees all Ministries
- Administers Policies
- Manages Ministry
- Attends Board Meetings
- Implements Vision
- 2nd in Command
- Informs Board of Ministry
To learn more
Read “Visionary Leadership,” Chapter 3 of Jerry Wofford’s Transforming Christian Leadership. Wofford’s Exercise on “Establishing Your Organizational Vision”:
- What is the extent of the urgency for your organization to incrementally move forward in its service to God? (If you and other leaders of your organization are fairly content with the current level of effectiveness and scope of your service to God, the process of establishing a vision will be of little value.)
- What are the strongest ministry gifts within my organization?
- What are the passions of my members in service to God?
- When I talk to members and leaders, what excites us the most?
- In what ways are we unique as an organization?
- What do we do best in our service to God?
- If we were forced to give up every ministry except one, which one would it be?
- Draw a picture that represents your image of your organization’s destiny.
- State in one sentence your vision for your organization.
- Who in your organization should be involved in defining or honing your organization’s vision? (You may want to use the above exercise with this group to develop a vision)
- Who makes up your inner circle in your organization?
- How and when can you best present your vision: To the inner circle? To the staff and lay leaders? To the members? To the new members?