Pastor Job Description
A pastor job description can be useful for both potential pastors and for the congregations that are looking for their next pastor. But before we look at a modern clergy job description, let’s look at one from a long time ago.
Ancient Pastor Job Description
We do not have a happy report to give. We’ve not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect still. We do appreciate all the suggestions from the church members, and we’ve followed up each one with interviews or calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report on the present candidates.
- Adam: Good man but problems with his wife. Also one reference told of how his wife and he enjoy walking nude in the woods.
- Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects.
- Abraham: Though the references reported wife-swapping, the facts seem to show he never slept with another man’s wife, but did offer to share his own wife with another man.
- Joseph: A big thinker, but a braggart, believes in dream-interpreting, and has a prison record.
- Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator, even stuttering at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge.
- David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor’s wife.
- Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never hold all those wives.
- Elijah: Prone to depression-collapses under pressure.
- Elisha: Reported to have lived with a single widow while at his former church.
- Hosea: A tender and loving pastor but our people could never handle his wife’s occupation.
- Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting things, and reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the bank of foreign river.
- Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church. Has trouble with his language.
- Jonah: Refused God’s call into ministry until he was forced to obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish. He told us the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.
- Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With some seminary training he might have promise, but has a hang-up against wealthy people. Might fit in better in a poor congregation.
- John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn’t dress like one. Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.
- Peter: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper—even has been known to curse. Had a big run-in with Paul in Antioch. Aggressive, but a loose cannon.
- Paul: Powerful CEO type leader and fascinating preacher. However, short on tact, unforgiving with younger ministers, harsh and has been known to preach all night.
- Timothy: Too young.
- Jesus: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5000 he managed to offend them all and this church dwindled down to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, he’s single.
- Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We’re inviting him to preach this Sunday. Possibilities here.
Pastor Job Description
The above search committee results are funny. But the truth is that pastors are often chosen on the basis of shallow credentials. For instance, a church may like a certain pastor because they smile a lot. They may like him because he used a lot of illustrations in his sermon. Or they may like him simply because he makes them feel comfortable.
It is important, though, to find a pastor who fits a church’s pastor job description. And pastors looking for churches seeking pastors need to ask about the job description so that he knows up front what is expected from him. But few churches even have them.
The thoughts below are just suggestions. You will have to do what you are comfortable with. For pastors looking for churches seeking pastors, these thoughts can help them see what they are getting themselves into. Churches may find these thoughts to be helpful in preparing a pastor job description.
- If the pastor job description is to be sent to potential candidates, it should begin with the church’s name at the top.
- Just below the name of the church, you should put the title of the position you are seeking. For instance: Seeking Baptist Senior Pastor for medium sized congregation in a rural setting.
- Below the position title, put a summary of the role you are seeking. For instance: The senior pastor provides spiritual oversight and leadership direction to church leaders and the congregation. He is to preach, disciple, evangelize, lead in the sacraments, and counsel those in need. He is to be a champion of the church’s mission statement and vision. The senior pastor, in cooperation with the Board of Elders, will be have primary leadership of all church ministries and committees.
- Then put the order of authority. Something like: The Senior Pastor is an equal member of the Elder Board and will lead in submission to the will of the Board.
- Then create a section called, Responsibilities. In this section you will lay out the details of the pastor job description. Use the following thoughts as an example: please don’t just copy and paste anything I say here. You need to come up with a job description that fits the unique qualities of your congregation.
Pastor Job Description: Responsibilities
This is just an example.
The responsibilities of the Senior Pastor are as follows.
The Senior Pastor is to preach and/or teach in both the Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening services. He should also lead the Wednesday Bible Study, though he may delegate the teaching portion of that study.
The Senior Pastor is to work with the Worship Team leader in preparing appropriate worship services. These services should be well-prepared, honoring to the Lord, and in a form that is most suitable for our congregation.
The Senior Pastor is to regularly lead the congregation in the Lord’s Supper or Communion. This should be done at least once per month. He should also lead in regard to baptisms. These should be offered at least every three months.
The pastor is to be available and willing to perform weddings and funerals as needed.
The Senior Pastor is responsible for all administration of the church. This includes office, staff, janitorial, grounds and buildings. This is not to imply that the pastor will do these things: only that he will oversee and delegate them as appropriate.
The Senior Pastor will lead and guide all other members of the pastoral staff. He will be responsible to ensure that all staff, pastoral and otherwise, fulfill the requirements of their job descriptions.
The Senior Pastor will be a member of all church committees and boards except where inappropriate (as in the Women’s committee).
The pastor is to maintain contact with all supported church missionaries and missions. He is to see that the congregation is also involved in the lives and ministries of those missionaries and missions. Every two years, the pastor will visit some of those missionaries and missions in person on the field.
The Pastor will delegate and oversee the planning of outreach activities in the surrounding neighborhoods. He will oversee the assimilation of new attendees and work toward creating an inviting environment in the congregation.
The Pastor will participate in and oversee the Christian Education of all ages. This includes Sunday School classes, youth, and adult education. He will delegate many responsibilities to volunteers in the church.
The pastor will provide short-term counseling as needed. He will be available and responsive to crisis situations. He will provide pastoral care through the most effective means possible.
The position requires great flexibility in time schedule. The pastor should be available for evening activities as well as work on the weekends. The pastor is free to take one to two days off each week depending on the needs of the congregation.
Pastor Job Description Conclusion
This is only a sample pastor job description. Please don’t just copy and paste it into your own document. Take the ideas that are appropriate and adjust them accordingly. In addition to the pastor job description, you will probably want to consider issues related to pastor salary .