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January 2, 2018

The Three Things Every Campus Pastor Needs to Do

By Sam Yoon

As a campus pastor, I want to hit it out of the park. I want to reach more people for Jesus and have the church grow. To accomplish this, I feel the need to control every situation and manage every part of the church. Who else is better equipped to do this than me, right?

But after attempting to control a church with over 20 ministries and a staff of 7, I started to stress out and burn out. I essentially failed. The more I controlled, the less impactful I was. My failure opened my eyes to one big truth. I thought I had to do 20 different ministries effectively to meet my goals. But what I learned was that I just needed to do only three things well.

When I focused on just these three things, I was less stressed and more influential. I was able to empower and coach leaders to manage those 20 ministries. The church actually started to grow. These three leadership principles are my game plan for being an effective campus pastor. It is what I do on a regular basis. They are simple principles that any and all pastors can implement. I believe it will help you in your church.

1. Communicate Vision

Your biggest role as the leader is to communicate the vision. No one will be more passionate or care about the vision than you, the leader. The best way to do communicate your vision is through stories. Stories are the best way for your people to remember your vision and values. Stories inspire and motivate you to continue to live and fulfill that vision. Number and statistics are great, but stories of life change move people to action.

Use all forms of communication to share these stories. I will always share our vision at our weekly staff meeting, our volunteer Facebook group, email newsletters, and whenever we have volunteer meetings. My goal is to over-communicate the vision. How do you know if you are over-communicating? You know that you are on the right track when you hear your leaders or volunteers tell others the vision to others.

Do you have a clear and simple vision statement, and do you share stories on a regular basis to inspire?

2. Connect to Build Relationships 

John Maxwell says, “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ministry isn’t a job; it’s a relationship. It’s a relationship with God, with your family, and with your church family. It’s your primary role to model and train others to build relationships with your staff, volunteers, members, and guests.

There are so many different ways to achieve relationships, and it requires intentionality and time. It’s my first instinct to finish a task rather than to build a relationship. Therefore, I have to set intentional time to focus on relationships. I make it a goal to hang out with our staff on a regular basis outside of work. I also make it a point to send birthday and thank you cards on a regular basis. I set goals on how many people I want to meet with on a weekly basis.

Do you have an intentional relationship plan? What are ways that you can build and model relationships with your staff, leaders, volunteers, and members?

3. Coach to Train and Develop 

The last leadership principle for every campus pastor is to help your people grow. Leadership development and coaching is your primary role and responsibility. This doesn’t happen automatically. It requires careful planning and creating a space to either get developed by an outside organization or through your own leadership development training.

It’s important to always be coaching, teaching, or helping develop your staff and leaders. And this shouldn’t just happen once a year at a conference. It should be happening on a regular basis. With your staff, it needs to be a weekly basis. Our staff goes through different leadership books, and I ask them to apply it during the week. With your volunteer leaders, it needs to be monthly at least. I’ll be taking our leadership team through different assessments like the Myers Brigg and Strength Finder so that we better understand each other. This will help build our team dynamic.

There needs to be a regular system and flow to grow your leaders. This goes without saying, but you as the leader need to be growing and poured into as well. You can’t lead or coach if you yourself are not growing and developing.

What’s your coaching plan for your staff and leaders? 


Do you have what it takes to be a campus pastor? How does this role differ from a church planter? Or from a senior pastor? Learn from our research-based and practitioner-tested scope and sequence to develop campus pastors in our course, Essential Campus Pastoring. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Yoon

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