One Episcopalian joke observes that on the question of authority, Roman Catholics point to the Pope, Protestants to the Bible, and Episcopalians to the previous rector.

That line makes me smile. But truthfully, when it comes to people's expectations of the pastor—including job description, lifestyle, and even personality—every congregation is shaped by not only the Bible and their previous pastor, but also celebrity pastors, memories of childhood ministers, and every other pastor the members have ever known.

Consider: is a pastor supposed to be funny or serious, tough or tender, a scholar or an activist, a risk-taker or a guardian?

Everyone has expectations of the church leader. Some expect you to make decisions. Others expect you to wait till there's consensus. Others expect you to put everything up for a vote.

One pastor told me, "It is utterly impossible to meet the diverse expectations within a congregation. Rarely will they all be communicated to ...

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