Why Your Church Needs a Leader More Than It Needs a Pastor or Preacher

Every church needs a pastor or a preacher. The importance of having a leading figure who guides sermons and worship cannot be understated. Without a central leader, every church would risk falling into disarray.

Chris Holland
May 12, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

But which is a more important figure to have in the church, a leader, a pastor, or a preacher? 

When done right, the answer would be all three rolled into one. Strong leadership is the central pillar of the church, bringing people together to form a community through worship. But, what exactly does a pastor do? 


Keep reading to learn more about the qualities of a good church leader and what their responsibilities are.

What’s a pastor’s role in the church?

Pastor preaching on stage

Though the ins and outs of their role will change depending on the church, pastors are generally expected to be the person who leads a church. The central role involves weekly preaching but extends to taking care of the congregation, helping people to overcome life challenges and strengthen their faith. They assume the position of church administrator, too, and oversee the day-to-day running of events.

What’s the difference between a pastor and a preacher?

Pastor hugging guest preacher

While a pastor’s role is incredibly varied, a preacher is someone who preaches. Simply put, all pastors are preachers, but not all preachers are pastors. If your church has a preacher who delivers sermons and spreads the word of God with charisma and enthusiasm but doesn’t assume the role of pastor, you need to have a separate person who runs the leadership side of things.

Why church leadership matters.

Church female leader with her group

A church leader has the power to influence the members of the church, which in turn impacts the wider community. Many responsibilities fall under their title, from delegating tasks and assigning team leaders to directing where resources and donations are spent. If your church has a pastor or a preacher that fails to do this or is unapproachable in their management style, you might have a problem.

What is a leader in the church?

Strong pastors who do not shy away from their leadership responsibilities can do wonders for a church. Some preachers fall into the trap of assuming they can assume pastoral responsibilities because of their strong preaching skills, but this isn’t always the case. If you think your church is struggling because of your pastor’s questionable leadership skills, there are steps you can take. 

Characteristics of a strong church leader.

As church leaders have an incredible amount of power, you need to have faith in their quality of character. Trustworthy, open, and communicative people tend to be a perfect choice, as they fill people with faith. Just like shepherds lead their flock away from danger and into safety, pastors must guide the congregation in a positive, fulfilling, and generous way. You will see dedicated pastors taking the time to check in with their church members because they genuinely care.

How to spot a bad church leader.

On knees praying at church

Bad leaders are everywhere, whether in the workplace, at school, or when playing sports. Typically, bad leaders don’t know how to listen. They take disagreements personally and stay closed-minded in the face of criticism. While there are many different types of bad leadership, if you find your pastor getting angry and defensive or shutting down conversations when challenged, they are not who you want to be in charge of your church.

The dangers of bad leadership.

A leader can make or break any project. If they chose to, they could waste valuable church resources and stunt the ministry’s growth, prioritizing their own desires instead of the good of the community. Bad leadership can kill a sense of mission in your church, make well-meaning volunteers lose direction, and stop members of the congregation from feeling like they have a true connection with the church. 

What can I do if my pastor is a bad leader?

Just like the rest of us, pastors are imperfect humans. They will make mistakes, have struggles, and feel lost sometimes. So, if your pastor has slipped up once or twice, it's time to cut them some slack. Leading a church is a massive responsibility and takes a huge amount of dedication. The work you see is only the tip of the iceberg. But, if this continues and becomes a pattern rather than an exception, tell another church worker your concerns.

What if I see moral failings in my pastor?

Praying with hands on bible

If things get worse and you see morally questionable behavior by your pastor it becomes something a whole lot more serious. The power that church leaders have can be used in toxic ways to manipulate the congregation and drive them away from God. Before you take action, evaluate your heart to consider if you have any bad intentions toward them. Spend some time connecting with God and praying for them, as they must be in a dark place.

Although a pastor is the shepherd, they need strong church workers, kids’ ministry leaders, and volunteers to help everything run smoothly. By offering small group leaders training courses, you boost the overall quality of your church's leadership. And, strong leaders help to lead the next generation of leadership, so make sure your church is doing it right. Not sure if you are a good leader? Try this self-assessment to see where you rank.

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