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From youth pastor to children’s pastor to a stint as the acting lead pastor to maintenance, I’ve held a lot of job titles with a variety of church staff. All of these are critical positions in church leadership, culture, and organization.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that all of these job titles and roles will vary based on your church demographics, size, and even the culture of the neighborhoods, towns, and cities your local church serves. Some may look at part-time hourly roles while others need full-time salaried positions.

Today, I’m going to break down key positions in church organizational structures and cover some key things to know and understand about what to look for in the hiring process for church ministry positions and what your local church might need when considering positions in your church.

Pastoral Positions In Church

Let’s start off with some of the simplest positions in church: the pastoral staff. Now, there are some who will make the case that some of these positions don’t fall under the title “pastor” and others that aren’t in this section that should be titled “pastor.” Both are fair arguments.

For this article, I’m going to outline some of the most important “pastoral” roles that come up across many churches, especially in North American churches. In an endeavor to cover the initiatives of each role, we aren’t going to debate the title of “pastor” vs “director” in this article. Just note that this section will include pastoral roles as well as church leadership roles

1. Lead Pastor/Senior Pastor

Across the board, this is one of the simplest positions in church organizations to recognize and fill. It’s also one of the most critical because the role of the lead pastor (also known as a senior pastor) is to lead the church as an organization.

When it comes to the role of lead pastor, according to a study in 2019 by Barna, roughly 26% of pastors are bi-vocational, meaning they are working full-time somewhere else in addition to working in their pastoral role.

Compensation considerations:

  • Rarely volunteer and bi-vocational
  • Sometimes part-time and bi-vocational
  • Often full-time, sometimes also bi-vocational

2. Executive Pastor

The role of executive pastor is relatively new to the world of church jobs. This role can be defined as a type of associate pastor, but it can also be defined as a pastoral role that focuses on church business management. This allows for business and organizational types to thrive in a pastoral setting while a lead or senior pastor can thrive in shepherding roles.

An executive pastor also functions similarly to a lead pastor, so make sure you don’t have overlapping job descriptions for these roles.

Compensation considerations:

  • Almost never volunteer and/or bi-vocational
  • Sometimes part-time and bi-vocational
  • Often full-time, sometimes also bi-vocational

3. Associate Pastor

A staff member who fits the associate pastor role, as mentioned before, can also be considered an executive pastor in some cases. The primary role of associate pastors seems to align with equipping all church members to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. The associate pastor also leads the charge on evangelism, outreach, and discipleship.

Associate pastors tend to manage staff members, focus on equipping and fundraising opportunities, but can also help with bookkeeping in some cases. Many associate pastors are salaried, but since many denominations also classify those in youth ministry and children’s ministry as associate pastors, those numbers can be skewed.

Compensation considerations:

  • Rarely volunteer and bi-vocational
  • Sometimes part-time and bi-vocational
  • Often full-time, sometimes also bi-vocational
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4. Missions Pastor

There is a movement in churches across North America to focus on the ministry of multiplication and church planting. This means that having designated missions pastors to focus on outreach, evangelism, and discipleship is on the rise as well. Some associate pastors can fit this role, but having a designated pastoral staff to focus on missions is becoming more popular.

Churches are taking two paths to hiring for missions pastors: hire them as missionaries, which means they need to do their own fundraising, OR hire them as salaried positions.

Compensation considerations:

  • Sometimes asked to fund their own salary and hours as a missionary role
  • Rarely part-time and bi-vocational
  • Sometimes full-time, sometimes also bi-vocational

5. Youth Pastor

We all know the youth pastor role. Many of you reading this were influenced by a volunteer, part-time, or maybe even full-time youth ministry leader in your lifetime.

Maybe they even helped you become a Christian or even discover your call to ministry in the first place. Either way, the youth ministry leader or youth pastor works specifically with teenagers and young adults.

Compensation considerations:

  • Sometimes volunteer and bi-vocational
  • Often part-time and bi-vocational
  • Sometimes full-time, occasionally also bi-vocational

6. Children’s Pastor

Some may prefer to think of this role as children’s ministry director since these positions in churches are largely filled by women. Either way, from Sunday School to programming to even Christian education, this role is one of the most vital positions in any church who is focusing on growth and evangelism in their community.

The important thing is to carefully consider your staffing budget, your staff member make-up, and the organizational goals of your church. Then, hire appropriately based on how you want to handle the role of children’s ministry in your church.

Compensation Considerations:

  • Sometimes volunteer and bi-vocational
  • Often part-time and bi-vocational
  • Sometimes full-time, rarely bi-vocational

7. Worship & Music Ministry

Depending on how your church or denomination functions, you may call this person the music ministry director, worship leader, or worship pastor. Either way, they serve a critical role in the church’s life and should be considered part of the leadership team, no matter the job title. Their day-to-day tasks are centered around how to lead the congregation in worship of God.

Compensation considerations:

  • Sometimes volunteer and bi-vocational
  • Often part-time and bi-vocational
  • Often full-time, rarely bi-vocational

Administrative Positions In Church

laptop next to a cup of coffee and dollar signs
Administrative roles can take care of a variety of different tasks.

Every church needs someone to help keep everything moving in a positive direction. Church administrators are the grease that makes the wheels turn smoothly. Can a Christian church exist without administrative jobs? Yes. But only by the grace of God and a healthy dose of reliance on Jesus Christ.

These positions in a church aren’t the most glamorous, but they are often critical to the success of a church even more so than the lead pastor or senior pastor. Below we will outline some administrative duties performed by these administrative positions in church.

8. Church Administrator

Sometimes known as the administrative assistant, these are the people who make it all happen. From weekly emails to handling phone calls to managing the calendars of all the programs and events, it all falls under the administrator’s job description.

Compensation considerations:

  • Often volunteer
  • Sometimes part-time
  • Rarely full-time

9. Pastoral Care

It might seem strange to include a pastoral care position in the administrative duties, but this role involves being incredibly organized. People need pastoral care at any time, day or night, and a variety of needs can pop up at a moment’s notice. This is why, sometimes, a pastoral care staff member does little of the actual pastoring and, instead, focuses on scheduling.

While it isn’t one of the more widely distributed positions in church, it is becoming more necessary as our world becomes more focused on online experiences that can leave us feeling isolated.

Compensation considerations:

  • Often consists of a team of volunteers, also all bi-vocational or retired
  • Rarely part-time and bi-vocational or otherwise retired
  • Rarely full-time, occasionally bi-vocational or otherwise retired

10. Community or Small Groups

A couple decades ago the small group model for churches took off and quickly became the norm for most churches, especially in North America. Creating positions in church for those who oversee the variety of community or small groups that go on within a church was a natural conclusion to these changes.

Creating community calendars of events, organizing programming, and even creating curriculum for small groups are all part of the tasks performed by those individuals in this administrative role.

Compensation considerations:

  • Sometimes volunteer
  • Often part-time
  • Rarely full-time

Financial Positions In Church

church building with a calculator and dollar sign in front
Church finance positions in church are important and, often, outsourced for budget and simplicity.

While the finance roles, jobs, and positions in churches could be part of the numerous administrative duties and roles of a local church, they also deserve their own spot on this list. Some of these roles can actually be outsourced entirely, so keep that in mind as you consider compensation.

Money makes the world spin, unfortunately, so giving special discussion around finances is critical to church leadership. There are also ample opportunities to have church finance committees that can handle many of these tasks with a variety of compensation structures.

11. Bookkeeping

Balancing out the checkbook and preparing for tax season are important for non-profit organizations because they follow stricter rules than some other businesses. Having dedicated bookkeepers on staff or outsourcing bookkeeping is necessary. It is possible to have volunteers for small churches, but all churches should eventually hire out their bookkeeping.

Compensation considerations:

  • Can be outsourced, which is becoming more popular to save money with small-to-mid sized churches
  • Can sometimes be considered volunteer work
  • Often part-time
  • Rarely full-time

12. Payroll/HR

Few churches are investing in human resources, delegating many tasks to church leadership. However, it’s worth considering having dedicated payroll and HR staff members when you see the number of unhealthy or downright toxic behavior that pops up in churches. Sadly, media outlets are quick to pick up on these types of discrepancies in churches.

Bearing this in mind, some in church leadership positions in churches are finding volunteers or even hiring in order to create HR departments and systems.

Compensation considerations:

  • A committee of volunteers can sometimes handle these needs
  • Sometimes part-time
  • Often full-time

Maintenance Positions In Church

church building exterior with a pair of hands holding a tablet marked “excellent”
The maintaining both the interior and exterior of the local church are doing the most “seen” work of any role on this list.

Church property management isn’t given much of the limelight, but, when you think about it, it’s easily the most visible job on this list. The first thing first-time guests will see is the building and the grounds. 

Those looking up your church online are going to see pictures of the building and grounds and the interior. Which is why maintenance positions in church are so important.

Whether you are looking at the exterior of the church or the interior, finding the right people to manage your church property is important.

13. Grounds/Property Manager

When talking about maintenance positions in a church, the grounds or property manager is primarily the individual or people taking care of the landscaping, keeping the exterior building clean, and maintaining equipment on the property. They make sure the outside of the building is beautiful and the land around the building is functional for all services.

Typically, these are going to be either outsourced positions or a combination of some outsourced work, like with mowing and landscaping, with volunteers or hired staff for other grounds management.

Compensation considerations:

  • Often a combination of outsourced landscaping and staffed for other job duties
  • Sometimes part-time
  • Rarely full-time

14. Facility Manager

While the difference between a property manager and a facility manager can be blurry, the emphasis is typically on whether or not they are focused on the interior or exterior. Exterior work is seasonal while interior jobs are year-round. 

For this reason, church facility management is vital because these staff members make sure everything is maintained and functional.

From fixing toilets to patching drywall, the work is never-ending for facility managers and explains why many of these roles are full-time staff members.

Compensation considerations:

  • Occasionally outsourced
  • Sometimes part-time and certain tasks are outsourced
  • Often full-time while working with contractors on bigger projects

15. Janitorial & Custodial

If you’ve ever walked into a sparkling clean and fresh-smelling sanctuary on a Sunday morning, then you can thank your janitorial and custodial staff. They keep everything clean and freshly prepared for a wonderful worship service so dirty carpets or nasty toilets don’t detract from your Sunday morning experience.

Every church is different on how they handle these types of jobs, so you can be flexible based on your needs and budget restrictions. 

Compensation considerations:

  • Often a combination of volunteers and the below options
  • Sometimes outsourced
  • Sometimes part-time
  • Rarely full-time

15 Hiring Decisions You Are Ready For!

Whether you are looking at making a pastoral, administrative, financial, or even maintenance hire for your church leadership team or staffing, you are ready to hire the most important ones. It’s always good to know your options and what is standard in the industry for each hire, too.

Now that you know what positions in church are out there and make sense for your congregation, you can start building a team of leaders exactly fit for your local church. If you want to keep learning about job descriptions, team meeting templates, and more, then make sure to subscribe to The Lead Pastor to stay connected!

By Dylan Miller

Dylan Scott Miller grew up in Southern Indiana surrounded by family who faithfully followed Jesus to the best of their abilities. But it wasn’t until high school that Dylan decided to “All In” and then began studying and preparing for youth ministry. Dylan graduated with a Bachelor’s in Youth Ministry and minored in Biblical Languages, and has served in both paid and volunteer roles for organizations like Youth Ministry Booster, National Network of Youth Ministries, and even as a Student Ministries Pastor for 4 years in a local church in Columbus, Ohio.