Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Part 4
The relationships of church members and pastors can often be a list of boundary violations. Tom Rainer lists some of them in his blog:
For this post we will focus on relationships from the perspective of the pastor, but church leaders and staff can adapt much of this material to their own ministries. Leave a comment below on your ministry role and what boundaries help you relate to others.
Here’s a list of questions to help pastors establish healthy boundaries with others:
Relationships With the Church Board
- What are the mutually established rules for how we behave toward one another? Maybe you want to write a relational covenant or elder covenant.
- What is out of bounds within board meetings?
- In what ways may we offer criticism?
- What are some wrong ways to offer criticism?
- How will we maintain a spirit of mutual encouragement and edification?
- How will we keep the focus on the work instead of making things personal?
- What is the purpose of this board?
- How will this board relate to the pastor? Is the pastor in agreement?
- What will this board do to ensure a good working environment for the pastor and staff?
- How will the board express trust, grant authority, and allow freedom for the pastor and staff?
- What are the limits of the board’s authority?
- What boundaries do board members need to establish in all four areas? (See the other posts in this series.)
Relationships With Church Staff
- What are the limits of the pastor’s authority with regard to staff?
- How will the pastor support the staff and provide for the needs of their jobs?
- How do the various staff positions relate to one another?
- What can be done to ensure each staff member is serving in their area of greatest gifting and competence?
- How will we help staff members be satisfied in their jobs?
- What freedoms do we need to grant to staff? Are we demonstrating trust in them with regard to their responsibilities?
- What actions, attitudes, or language is inappropriate in this workplace?
- Are all the church staff on the same page with regard to these boundaries?
Relationships With other Church Leaders, Boards, or Committees
- How will the pastor relate to the deacons, other committees, or church leaders?
- What can only the pastor provide for these groups?
- How can the pastor empower these groups in their ministries?
- Where does the pastor need to be careful about overstepping his boundaries?
Relationships With the Rest of the Congregation
- How can the pastor maintain both connection with the congregation and separation from them when needed?
- When will the pastor be unavailable to the congregation?
- When will the pastor be fully available to the congregation?
- How will the pastor and congregation communicate with one another?
- How can a member of the congregation reach the pastor?
- What are the pastor’s responsibilities to the congregation?
- How should the pastor deal with unreasonable expectations from the congregation?
- What is out of bounds for the congregation when talking with or about the pastor?
- How will the pastor discern the needs of the congregation?
- How will the pastor relate to the spiritually healthy versus the spiritually needy?
Relationships With the Pastor’s Family
- How can the pastor prioritize his family above the church?
- When is the pastor’s “down time” with family?
- How can the pastor remain unavailable to the church when on a family vacation?
- What are the unique needs of the pastor’s spouse?
- What are the unique needs of the pastor’s kids?
Relationships With the Surrounding Community
- How will the pastor connect with people outside the church?
- What relationships must the pastor maintain?
- How will the pastor relate to friends outside the church in his community?
- How should the pastor relate to other pastors and churches in the community?
- Who are the key influencers in the community? How should the pastor relate to them?
- Who are the outcasts in the community? How should the pastor relate to them?
- What is the proper priority of your relationships? (I’ll give you a hint 1. God 2. Self-Care 3. Family . . .)
- What other special relationships need to be maintained?
- Is there room in the pastor’s schedule for him to have fun with friends?
In my next post, I’ll begin exploring the boundaries of responsibility by looking at Minimum Expectations.