Minimum Expectations for the Pastor

Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Part 5



Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4|Part 5 | Part 6|Part 7

In the previous two posts we covered the boundaries that define our relationships with God, self, and others. Now it’s time to turn our attention to our ministry responsibilities. It’s important to establish these boundaries for every ministry in the church, not just for the pastor. Each elder, deacon, staff member, and volunteer ministry leader should know where the boundaries of their ministry lie.

The purpose of this boundary is to establish mutually agreed-upon performance minimums. These should be clearly stated and written down. If violated, some of them will require discipline and correction. Some will require an immediate removal from ministry. The difference should be clearly stated. Remember, these are just minimum expectations. They only form one side of the performance field, not a picture of normal day-to-day ministry. We will cover maximum limits in the next post. Everything between the two should be the range where the worker has complete freedom. These boundaries should be reevaluated and adjusted on a regular basis.

Here are some questions to help establish the Minimum Expectations boundary:

Calling from God

  • What is my calling from God?
  • How does my calling access my gifts, skills, strengths, and passions?
  • Can I state my calling from God in a clear, concise sentence or two?
  • What does this calling require of me?

Ministry Responsibilities

  • To whom am I responsible? In what ways?
  • What are the things that only I can do?
  • What responsibilities do I share with others? How are these responsibilities shared?
  • In what ministry areas does my gifting and training make me the best person for the job?
  • What are my strengths, gifts, skills, and passions?
  • What are my areas of weakness?
  • What tasks drain me?
  • What must I delegate to others in order to focus on what I do best?
  • What are the agreed-upon, minimum, measurable benchmarks for this job or ministry?
  • What will get me fired or removed if I don’t follow through?
  • What will I be given an opportunity to correct before being fired or removed?


For the Board or Other Supervisors

  • What are your responsibilities toward your pastor/leaders/workers?
  • Have you clearly stated the minimum expectations?
  • Are you competent to be deciding these minimum expectations? (Many church boards don’t have experience in pastoral ministry. They may need help or training from the pastor and/or denominational leaders.)
  • Where does your authority come from? What are the limits of your authority in this area?
  • What do you NOT have authority over with regard to the pastor/leader/worker?
  • How will you demonstrate trust and give freedom?
  • Are you giving positive feedback and encouragement when the worker is doing more than the minimum expectations?

Other questions

  • Has everyone involved (workers and supervisors) agreed to these minimum expectations?
  • Are there any questions or areas of confusion?
  • Can the worker state the minimum expectations?
  • Can the board or supervisors trust the worker with the freedom to do their job in their own way?
  • When will these boundaries be reevaluated?
  • How will the review process be structured?
  • Is the review process fair to the worker? (i.e., One-on-one discussion instead of a group of people doing the review.)
  • For paid staff, how will compensation be connected to this process?

In the next post we will cover the Maximum Limits of Authority

Please, leave a comment below. I personally read all the comments and I try to respond within a day. Or we can interact on Twitter (@PastorsSoul) or on our Facebook page.

© Sean Nemecek, 2018. All rights reserved. Request permission.


Sean Nemecek, (M.Div. Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is the director of The Pastor’s Soul, and pastor at First Baptist Church in Tustin, Michigan since 2001. A third-generation pastor, he grew up listening to pastors and their families talk about the realities of ministry. Now he wants to use this knowledge to bless the church. Sean is married to Amy, a poet and freelance book editor. Together, they have a 17-year-old son.


4 thoughts on “Minimum Expectations for the Pastor

  1. Pingback: Ministry Relationships — The Pastor's Soul Center

  2. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Putting It All Together (Part 7) | The Pastor's Soul

  3. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Limit of Authority (Part 6) | The Pastor's Soul

  4. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Relationships with others (Part 4) | The Pastor's Soul

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