Everybody could probably tell you what a pastor should do. But the list of what a pastor, or parish leader of any kind, shouldn’t do is actually much longer. And it is as important to know what not to do as knowing your to-do list.
Here are a few, in no particular order.
#1. The pastor shouldn’t be the only one allowed to take risks.
Risks hold the active potential for failure, and if you are the only one on your team who is allowed to fail (without punishment) then you’re limiting your church’s ability to grow, adapt, and innovate.
#2. The pastor shouldn’t lead every meeting.
It is a mistake for the leader to think leadership always means being large and in charge, speaking first and last (and most), commenting on everything that is said, chairing every meeting they attend. Other people can do this too, and if you are building a strong leadership team, they need to be developing this skill. Watching others do it might help you get better at it too.
#3. The pastor shouldn’t attend every church event.
First of all in larger parishes it really isn’t a sustainable goal, and when unmet there are always hurt feelings and disappointment. Second, going to the previous point, if you are building healthy parish leaders they can and should do this for you. Sometimes just stay away.
#4. The pastor shouldn’t be the only one who gets to decide.
If everything has to be checked out with you before it’s a go, if only your taste in music is permitted, if every program needs your approval, you are putting a lid on your church life and will effectively limit its growth. Delegate to people you can trust who know what they’re doing, and by all means hold them accountable to high standards you help establish, but let others be a part of the decision making circle.
#5. The pastor shouldn’t stop learning.
It is a mistake to think you know it all, or that you know enough. You don’t. You need to keep growing and learning and you need to set this example for your leadership team. Learn together and when you do you will be a stronger team.