Kevin Lloyd: 5 Hurdles Every Executive Pastor Has to Get Over

I am not a great surfer, but I love to surf!

There is a lot of skill and intuition required to ride a wave. Surfing is also being able to recognize the right opportunity. Choosing the right day to go out or the right wave in a set to chase is vital to a strong day in the water. 

Personally I have learned a lot of the skills required to ride a wave. My struggle remains recognizing the best waves to ride. 

Similarly, my job requires me to be a skilled opportunist as well. Executive Pastors are constantly processing managing people, mapping out strategy, ministering to people and a dozen other things all simultaneously. At the same time we have to have intuition to recognize the right opportunities within every context of leadership.

Much like my surfing experience, I find many Executive Pastor's miss some critical opportunities. Here are a few that could:  

We trust too little.

Trust is a wide net with us. We struggle to trust both people and God. Why? Because we tend to be control freaks. Our tendency is to only truly trust ourselves. Trust requires surrendering control. We miss opportunities to see God move on our behalf because we operate like we can control the universe better than He can. We miss opportunities to see people we lead flourish and our church grow due to our lack of confidence in them. 

We are unwilling to live with a product we don’t have our own fingerprints on.

Perhaps it is due to knowing just enough about every area of the church, an insecure need to be needed or a genuine belief that we know more than everyone else; but many Executive Pastors wrestle with accepting others work as good enough. Because of this we manage products instead of people. This is our greatest missed opportunity as it turns great leaders into insecure followers when we insist on being the generator of innovation. 

We get into weeds more than we should.

Most Executive Pastor's have an administrative gift. To scratch the itch of this giftedness we will deep dive into details that are lower than we need to be flying. Strategically focusing on detail is healthy; doing so on impulse is undisciplined. Our churches need our eyes on the horizon of where we are headed with intentional glances below. Staying in the weeds robs the church and leaders on your team from moving forward.

We make too many decisions.

There's some weird leadership bravado that emerges around decision making. Pastors believe decision making power equals power. I disagree. Empowering others to make decisions is where real power lies.When I make quick decisions for the team based on my own impatience or arrogance I miss opportunities for the team to be better leaders and the church to experience better results.

We soft pedal the truth with our Lead Pastors too often.

Telling the truth to my pastor readily and truthfully is a must. When I don't, I miss the main goal of my job. Keep in mind, truth telling requires the right motives. I have to tell the truth in a tone that informs and improves over in a tone designed to sway my leader's opinion. My responsibility is not to deliver truth to get my way but to deliver truth that helps my pastor lead the way.

I will never be a champion surfer. The skills are beyond me and the intuition baffles me. However, I will keep paddling out. In the same way, I continue to lead through challenging seas of opportunities. Hopefully I will keep learning to seize more than I miss! 

Keep leading bravely. 


Kevin is a coach for couragetolead.com. He is also Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia, and the founder of LeadBravely.org. Kevin specializes in strategic thinking, financial health and developing teams. He lives in Augusta, GA, with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters.