Saturday, June 2, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have been an elder in our church for many years. Just last month, I became the new executive pastor. What are some of the major things that I need to be aware of in this change? 

DRF—Congratulations on your new role! That’s an exciting step in your life and in the life of your church. The transition from a role on a church governing board to a staff member has some significant areas to be aware of. Let me share two areas of communication challenges:

Watch your language!

Remember that you have two tons of power in your speech. You can throw around 2,000 pounds of power as an elder and another 2,000 pounds as executive pastor.

Your words carry a great deal of authority. When you whisper a suggestion, it will come across as a loud command. When you yell … well, don’t do that. 

You may be amazed to learn that people took your blue sky thinking as a game plan to follow. You were just shooting the breeze and they were taking action notes.

Listen a great deal!

Get a new feel for how the staff functions. Board members may spend four hours a week at the church. Now you will be spending ten times that amount.  

Ask open-ended questions, not “yes or no” ones. Follow up on the person’s response to your question and go deeper into the subject. People may need to know that you are really interested to give you the “full scoop” on an issue.

You will now see the staff from the inside, not just as a board member. Understand their challenges, frustrations and joys. Get to know what makes them want to do ministry at your church. 

The bottom line is: Speak less and listen more.