when directing a cm that had a director before you – how to foster a strong relationship between the senior pastor and the cm?

Your Question:

“How do I foster a stronger relationship with the senior pastor and the CM?”

The Issues:

Church leadership is a “tightrope walk” between politics (relationships with people) and vision.  Getting people “on board” is critical if the vision is to be realized. Understanding the senior pastor’s position and challenges is vital to building a strong relationship with him.

Scripture Foundation:

“Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7

Short Answer:

When you were hired to direct the children’s ministry (CM), you were also placed under the established leadership of the church. Those in authority over you are there by God’s design as Paul states in Romans 13:1 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.” Since you have been called to serve in a CM leadership position that has been filled by another person before you, you might have to deal with the senior pastor’s experience with the former CM leader. This is very different from being hired to lead a CM that has never been led before.  You might be dealing with “bruises,” fears, or bad experiences that you had nothing to do with.  The best thing to do right away is to make an appointment with the senior pastor to understand what has been done before you were hired. Since you are a new person to the position, the senior pastor will most likely be open to meeting with you. 


When you are able to meet with the senior pastor, ask him three specific questions: “What is your vision for the CM?”; “What did the former CM director do that you liked, or disliked?”: and “How can I best serve you?” These three questions will give you all the information you need to understand how to support the senior pastor. You will know what to do and what not to do.  The information you learned in this meeting can be used to build a strong relationship between the senior pastor and the CM.  You can refer to specific comments he made in the meeting as you build the CM. You can say things like, “I remember you saying… so, here is something I’d like to do.”  This use of what he said will be an extreme compliment to him. Senior pastors deeply enjoy when their passions or vision are supported! Here are some other ways to strengthen the relationship between the senior pastor and the CM:

  • Schedule bimonthly meetings with him to share what is happening in the CM, and to get his advice.
  • Send him weekly email updates about the CM that highlight the successes and challenges of the CM.
  • Ask him for his advice or opinions as often as you can.
  • Invite him to attend CM meetings or special events that are happening in the CM.
  • Feeling welcome is critical! He may or may not attend these events, but the fact that you have invited him is powerful!.

The “bottom line” of how to build a stronger relationship with the senior pastor is to be faithful in consistent, respectful communication.

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