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The Second Chair

The joys and challenges of being executive pastor: an interview with Karen Miller

At a pastoral retreat, staff members were talking about where they are influenced, where they keep growing. One guy said, "I feel like I have a transformation conversation every week in supervision with Karen." A young woman I just hired a few months ago said, "I just grow every time I meet with Karen." That's what I want to do.

What kinds of gifts are required for an effective executive pastor?

You have to really understand and have insight into your own leadership. You have to be able to lead leaders and also give leadership away so others can grow. You need to be able to be administrative and build systems. And you need to be able to see what needs to be done. It's the gift of administration, organization.

You also need high people skills. You need the pastoral ability to be able to work with all kinds of people. And you need to be willing to deal with conflict. If you don't want to deal with conflict, you probably don't want to be an executive pastor.

The other thing is you always have to be willing to do what is best for the whole. This is really hard in a church. You have to have the professional will to do the things that are best for everyone and not necessarily best for you.

Karen Miller is executive pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

November05, 2012 at 4:31 PM

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