Regardless of congregational size and governance style, a parish minister must function effectively as an executive. Of course this looks very different in a congregation of 20 or a 100 with one staff person or a congregation of 1,000 with another minister and a staff of seventeen (and I’ve had all of these experiences).
The common denominator of my executive leadership style is collaboration — especially with the Board and other staff. As a staff leader, I prize building and nurturing a sense of being on a team. Staffs I’ve led work creatively together, respect each other by staying in their lanes, and have fun. Hard work and laughter characterize staff meetings I lead or co-lead–even virtually in a congregation in the midst of a long, difficult, pandemic-challenged transition.
As a minister, I seek to create a culture in which everyone’s responsibilities are clear, everyone has the authority to fulfill their responsibility, and there are clear and compassionate systems of accountability. I begin this work in the only place I can: with me. I must understand my responsibilities, own but not abuse the authority I am given, and embrace accountability for my work.