Pastor’s Job Description: Shared Church of 450

The previous blog suggested what a shared-church pastor’s job description might look like. In a comment, one reader wondered “if there are any churches on Planet Earth where this is happening. Do you know of any? If so, can you let us know of models to check out?”

Almost simultaneously, another reader, a pastor, offered to share the “Ministry Role Description” being followed in their church that averages 450 on Sundays. I gratefully accepted the offer. At this pastor’s request, I have changed the names of people and places.

You’ll notice an unusual element in the following job description: this pastor oversees a preaching team—but does not preach. The pastor spends a great deal of time working behind the scenes to help others discover and develop their gifts on behalf of the church body. The job description shows a concern for building relationships, small groups, and leadership development. The pastor serves as an equipper, in line with Eph. 4:11-12.

Ministry Role Description

Reporting to: John Doe

1. Spiritual Growth

  • Modules / workshops:
  • Facilitate modules - recruit leaders, plan relevant curriculum for Sunday morning and other modules.
  • Maintain that the vision for modules is communicated to those leading and organizing.
  • Develop an effective means of promotion of all modules.

Preaching Team:

  • Coordinate and oversee the preaching team - content, roster, best practices.
  • Ensure that sermon series are developed, planned, preachers booked, and necessary information on sermon content communicated to the team, staff, other essential people.

2. Group Life: Work with John Doe to:

  • Ensure growth groups are formed and developed.
  • Ensure group leaders are recruited, trained and resourced.
  • Train and develop current and new growth group leaders.
  • Oversee curriculum for groups, training/development component for group life leaders.
  • Maintain a network of communication to and among group leaders.
  • Meet with all group leaders together twice a year for vision renewal, sharing of stories, discussion & training.

3. Connectedness:

  • Ensure new people are effectively welcomed and integrated into the church community.
  • Implement and maintain a system by which people will be drawn close into the life of the church and feel connected with other people.
  • Develop events and other structured means to deepen connection and community amongst the church family (e.g., potlucks, coffee times).
  • Ensure there are formal and informal processes in place that enable people to feel drawn in, welcomed and engaged.
  • Connecting individuals with small groups, ministries, places to build relationships, and ministries in which to serve.

4. Prayer Ministry:

  • Ensure Prayer ministry is integrated into the life of church programs—including Sunday morning.
  • Invite people onto prayer teams and ensure training of prayer team members (those praying for and with people).
  • Ensure (in consideration of their gifts and inter-personal skills) that these teams represent our demographic.
  • Oversee development of people and leaders in prayer ministry—development tools, resources, training aspects.
  • Lead the process of developing many facets and initiatives of prayer ministry.

5. Spiritual Direction:

  •  Short-term spiritual direction with individuals.
  • Develop and facilitate other spiritual directors within the church body.

6. Leadership Development: Work with John Doe to:

  • Implement and oversee processes to ensure new leaders are identified.
  • Developed, train, and facilitate leaders.

7. Other:

  • Contribute to the planning of Sunday services and special services.
  • Provide pastoral care as needed.
  • Serve as a catalyst and support to the leadership team of the women’s ministry to ensure that events and connectivity happens (mini-retreats, annual retreat, social events).
  • Ensure proper record keeping of files and information related to your ministry.
  • Plan and manage all budgets related to ministry areas.
  • Engage the community through a missional outreach initiative.
  • Continue personal development (e.g., completing spiritual training courses, reading current literature, etc.).
  • Participate in bi-weekly staff meeting.
  • Have a bi-weekly individual meeting with John Doe.
  • Submit a weekly schedule template to John Doe (update as needed).


My book, Curing Sunday Spectatoritis includes an interview with Trevor Withers, one member of the three-person leadership team in Network Church, St. Albans, UK. Withers says his team deliberately creates what they call a leadership vacuum. “Whatever we do,” Withers explains, “others cannot do, because we are taking up and occupying that space.” So, the team set about readying others to step into ministry roles. Today, their preaching team numbers around 18 and they have eight worship leaders. A number of people serve as hosts, who lead the weekly gatherings.

A church that practices the priesthood of all believers needs leaders—but those who walk the talk of servant-leadership. Rather than clinging to rank, title, position, or tradition, they unlock opportunities for others who can, in turn, empower yet others. The servant-leader takes Jesus as his model. Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:7). Jesus delegated baptizing to his apprentices (Jn. 4:2). Paul, after equipping Timothy to teach, did not expect him to do all the teaching. Instead, he urged him to hand the task over to others who would continue the giveaway process (II Tim. 2:2).

In The New Reformation, Greg Ogden says, “the Reformation never fully delivered on its promise” to restore the priesthood of all believers. He asks, “What kept the Reformers from returning the ministry to the people of God?” We might also ask, what keeps us today from practicing the all-believer priesthood?

Could one reason be the typical written (and unwritten) job descriptions for pastors?