Pastor as CEO

This week I  passed by a church near my house and noticed a subtle memo on the bottom of the church sign. As I think more about it, maybe it should be included on many more church signs around the nation. The sign read, “Mt. Hope Ministries, Dr. Raymond A Bell Jr, Senior Pastor/CEO”. I visited Mt. Hope’s website and was disappointed to see that Dr. Bell’s title there is simply, “Senior Pastor”. But the sign was probably accurate. Dr. Bell’s is likely the Chief Executive Officer of his flock. His job probably includes a combination of pasturing and CEOing. The problem is this… CEO’s and pastors have nothing in common… so to have one man serve both roles is impossibility. A good CEO makes a bad Pastor and a good Pastor makes a bad CEO. Consider the Jobs…

  • The Pastor  gives his life for his sheep (1 Peter 5:4) while the CEO views humans as “resources” and organizes them for mass profitability.
  • The Pastor suffers hardship like a good soldier (2 Tim 2:3) while the CEO lives in comfort and luxury.
  • The Pastor is not a lover of Money (1 Tim 3:3; 1 Peter 5:2) while the CEO exists to make as much money as possible for himself, his investors and his company.
  • The Pastor is not “puffed up with conceit” (1 Tim 3:6) while the CEO receives notoriety.
  • The Pastor is “not domineering over those in his charge, but an example to the flock” while the CEO exercises authority and terminates those that does not “produce”.

When I think of CEO’s I think of Donald trump types, appointment books lined with opportunities for  jet-setting and hobnobbing. But this is not the Pastor’s life… The job of a pastor (if done well)  is a life of sacrifice and service. A pastor is a shepherd… In fact, he’s an under-shepherd.  I imagine a stiff in a 3 piece suit shading himself under a tree surrounded by loud smelly sheep… I’d expect him to whip out his cell phone and call for a chopper to deliver him from a nightmare.

Or maybe we put a Shepard at the head of a table in a board room… We give him an assistant and a six figure income… the company is headed for ruin!

The point is… these are different jobs…. they are not compatible. You may be the senior pastor of a particular congregation, you are not “the” senior pastor. The Bible says that Jesus is the senior pastor (1Peter5:4).

The majority of pastors who read this would never refer to themselves as CEO’s… but we do tend to act more like CEO’s than pastors.

God, forgive us.  We took this job to serve you but we can’t stop serving ourselves. Change our minds and set our affections on you. Amen.


  1. Reply
    Jamie Limato says

    one word….”WOW”. So sad but so true. We need more Godly and Gospel proclaiming African American brother’s in Christ like http://www.epiphanyfellowship.org/staff

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