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Authority of a Sr Pastor

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  • Authority of a Sr Pastor

    Here's a question for you guys.

    I had the Senior Pastor of the church where I work go to a person on my team and tell them to do something. That person at first refused, referring the pastor to me. Finally, the person did as requested by the pastor.
    Now, the pastor wants me to fix this so the pastor's authority isn't questioned in such circumstances. She feels disrespected by my team member.

    Should the pastor's authority extend to every situation at all times? What do you guys think?

    ~Shahan
    Last edited by eyema_believer; 05-15-2011, 08:07 PM. Reason: speellinng

  • #2
    Pretty much, yeah.

    Ideally, the pastor would go through you; however his authority must extend over everyone in ministry. If it were me, I'd be having a serious conversation with the team member.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think I agree with Mikeymo. The senior or lead pastor is the spiritual leader, and as long as they're doing what needs to be done (spiritual discipline) to fill that role than his or her authority should be respected.

      However, and this is just me thinking, what if it was something musical, and the pastor doesn't know as much about music as the senior worship leader? Is it okay to say, "I hear what you're saying, Pastor, but in this song we usually lead with the acoustic in 3/4 time" or whatever.

      Does the pastor have authority in all things spiritual, but be in deference to others when their knowledge or wisdom surpasses theirs?
      All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord!
      In His Name,
      Kim

      http://soundcloud.com/inhisname

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't have enough info to have a strong opinion. It depends on a lot of things:

        -Is your church structured so that the senior pastor has absolute authority? Some churches (like ours) are elder-led. Our main teaching pastor has a lot of authority, but it's not absolute and unquestionable.

        A lot of this depends on your particular church culture and structure of authority. I can say what our elders and lead staff would say, but that doesn't mean squat if your church is structured differently.

        -How did the interaction go? Does your pastor feel disrespected by the team member's answer alone or by the tone of the interaction, or both? If there's a personal offense rather than just an authority issue, then the pastor needs to be involved in some reconciliatory conversations. Whether we're the offended or offending party, we are responsible to initiate, and even a senior pastor cannot delegate that responsibility (Luke 17:3, Mt 5:23-24).

        -Without knowing more, I really think it would be good for the senior pastor to interact with the person again at some point. You could have some intermediate conversations, but if the loop isn't closed at some point, your team member will likely feel alienated by the senior pastor.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would like to know what the pastor wanted this person to do, but if it was something to do with what would normally be under my purview my minister would never make an end-run around me to a team member. The fact that the member felt uncomfortable doing "it" says something to me. Can't wait to hear what it was. This isn't the military and the pastor only has authority as far as the member will allow it. We all know of pastors that have power complexes. I have been working with one as of late that came into their church 3 years ago like a Hun, and has now been sent packing with his tale between his legs.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by InHisName View Post
            However, and this is just me thinking, what if it was something musical, and the pastor doesn't know as much about music as the senior worship leader? Is it okay to say, "I hear what you're saying, Pastor, but in this song we usually lead with the acoustic in 3/4 time" or whatever.

            Does the pastor have authority in all things spiritual, but be in deference to others when their knowledge or wisdom surpasses theirs?
            The pastor will defintely defer on musical matters, yes!

            Originally posted by habakkuk3178 View Post
            I don't have enough info to have a strong opinion. It depends on a lot of things:

            -Is your church structured so that the senior pastor has absolute authority?

            -How did the interaction go? Does your pastor feel disrespected by the team member's answer alone or by the tone of the interaction, or both? If there's a personal offense rather than just an authority issue, then the pastor needs to be involved in some reconciliatory conversations. Whether we're the offended or offending party, we are responsible to initiate, and even a senior pastor cannot delegate that responsibility (Luke 17:3, Mt 5:23-24).
            I'm seeing more and more that the pastor assumes ultimate authority. There is a board of directors and another board of elders, but what is worked out in practice is different.
            The tone of the person was also harsh towards the pastor. They had some interaction over facebook yesterday, but I'm not sure what the extent was.

            Originally posted by fccworship View Post
            I would like to know what the pastor wanted this person to do, but if it was something to do with what would normally be under my purview my minister would never make an end-run around me to a team member. The fact that the member felt uncomfortable doing "it" says something to me. Can't wait to hear what it was. This isn't the military and the pastor only has authority as far as the member will allow it. We all know of pastors that have power complexes. I have been working with one as of late that came into their church 3 years ago like a Hun, and has now been sent packing with his tale between his legs.
            The pastor wanted the soundlevel on the PA turned down.

            Comment


            • #7
              The pastor wanted the soundlevel on the PA turned down.
              Wow. That IS a HUGE can of worms . For now, I think it's more important to address the interpersonal conflict here rather than dive into PA sound levels.

              Since the tone of the interaction was harsh, there definitely needs to be some reconciliation between these two individuals. If neither of them is willing to initiate toward the other, then you may end up serving as a mediator. I would talk to both persons and attempt to understand each side as best you can. Communicate to both persons that the end goal of this is to restore unity within your local assembly, and that they will need to talk to each other in-person to conclude that process.

              Another issue is the instructions/expectations the team member was operating under when the request was made. If the person had never before considered a scenario in which a leader in the church (other than the music minister) would tell them to turn down, then the team member was likely doing what he or she thought best in a stressful situation. There should be some discussions about handling such scenarios in the future so the person has clear expectations.

              Comment


              • #8
                The philosophy we "try" to operate under (we don't get it right all the time) is that Sunday is for participation, Monday is for evaluation. Ideally, if our teaching pastor thought the volume was too loud, he would talk to me about it on Monday and instruct me to deal with it as the leader of that ministry. I would definitely consider myself under his authority in that situation, and I would need to take action to move us in the direction he indicated.

                Evaluation and criticism on Sunday just leads to bad places. Everyone is working hard and under varying degrees of stress.

                Even if your senior pastor does have the authority to ask what she did, she needs to recognize that there might be a better way to go about it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by habakkuk3178 View Post
                  The philosophy we "try" to operate under (we don't get it right all the time) is that Sunday is for participation, Monday is for evaluation. Ideally, if our teaching pastor thought the volume was too loud, he would talk to me about it on Monday and instruct me to deal with it as the leader of that ministry. I would definitely consider myself under his authority in that situation, and I would need to take action to move us in the direction he indicated.

                  Evaluation and criticism on Sunday just leads to bad places. Everyone is working hard and under varying degrees of stress.

                  Even if your senior pastor does have the authority to ask what she did, she needs to recognize that there might be a better way to go about it.
                  Totally agree with this.

                  Nate
                  Practical Worship

                  Please Pray For My Wife

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Did I hear you say your pastor is a "she"????

                    And the team member was what gender?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by linda marie View Post
                      Did I hear you say your pastor is a "she"????

                      And the team member was what gender?
                      Team member is also a she. I don't think that matters here, but I guess I could entertain that possibility.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eyema_believer View Post
                        Team member is also a she. I don't think that matters here, but I guess I could entertain that possibility.
                        The prejudices we all have can run very deep and sometimes we hide them from ourselves. Peoples' ideas regarding music are also quite varied -- and most everyone believes what he or she likes is "best".

                        Not to mention that sometimes musicians are a bit "unlike" those not so blessed....

                        All sorts of dynamics going on... and it doesn't sound like, to me, "authority" is the problem... maybe just a misunderstanding of who's "in charge"...

                        If that's the case, those people "in charge" should work things out between themselves & let everyone else know what decision has been made.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I guess a little more context is needed for me, if the pastor asked my sound person to turn it down thatís one thing, and we can address later why the pastor wanted it down. IF the senior pastor asked my cello player to do anything with the board she would say no quickly. She doesn't have any desire to touch the board. In fact it kind of intimidates her. She would be afraid to touch it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I totally agree with habakkuk3178. And if a church is growing larger, the senior pastor should be willing to delegate responsibility for things like sound level.

                            And If the sound is too loud, he should tell the WL to take care of it. Maybe the guitar is too loud in the mix making it sound like the overall sound is too high. The WL pulling the guitar down an tad is totally different than bringing the whole house down in level. What I am saying is whatever the issue is the pastor wants to address with an individual on the team, the WL should probably be in charge of it.

                            I hear most saying the senior pastor should have all authority at all times. But, if you have a pastor that sometimes likes to micro-manage, things can get pretty ugly. I say if you have established a chain of command so to speak, you should use it if at all possible. I really like hab's "Monday is for evaluation" ideal. I think I will tell our WL about it. Then following the chain of command, he can tell the senior pastor about it.

                            Lou

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                            • #15
                              Hi all! The chain of command is always a good process to make clear from the onset of most any
                              ministry. However, a chain of command flows from the bottom up, not visa-versa. In my experience, the members of the worship/media ministry go to a section leader first, then the worship pastor and then usually to the pastor from there. However it is not healthy (or I would dare to say vocationally wise-LOL) to give the senior pastor a chain of command from the top to bottom. In other words, as worship pastors/leaders it is not our place to tell the pastors theirs. We have Monday staff meetings when we go over everything and I am blessed to have a senior pastor who does come to me and asks me to, in turn, to go to a band member, but he chooses to, I did not tell him.
                              I am a little concerned that a band member refused the direction ofnthe lead pastor, even more, that theh told the pastor they had to go to yoi first. To be blunt, that does show a disrespect for the pastor. We need to instill in our worship ministry members a great respect for the lead pastor. I would be horrified if a member of our team told my pastor, "You need to go through Jeff first." This is a great teaching moment for you. I recommend you lovingly rind the band that the pastor is the utmost earthly authority of the church.

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