The 6 Core Competencies of Pastors (Part 01)

What six core competencies does a pastor need? I would imagine you could ask ONE hundred pastors and laity and get FIVE hundred answers. 🙂

Here are my thoughts. I share them not because I KNOW what the six core competencies are (that would take a lot more work and insight than I have) but so that you might also do some work and wrestling with this too. My sense is that it matters.  It matters what we believe is core to our work as pastors and the make necessary changes to focus there.

Where does my list come from? My list comes from my experience.

First is my experience in the local church where I have been blessed to serve churches that have taught me what I have needed to pastor successfully. (And yes, this has certainly looked different in different churches!)

Second is my experience as a lifelong learner. I love to read, attend trainings, try things out, make adjustments, reflect and discuss to learn what works in today’s world.  Learning and teaching has always been (and will probably always be) my passion.

And third is my experience as Director of New Ministries in Cal-Pac where I have the privilege of working with a wide variety of pastors who show me what matters in ministry and what (may) not.

join us forSo let’s begin with my #1.

Professionalism – For me professionalism includes:

  • Continuous Learning:
    •  Ongoing systematic retooling of (especially) preaching and leading. (Because what worked in your last church doesn’t necessarily work in the next one.)
    •  Learning about new methods & new generations.
    •  Learning how to work with community partners.
    • Learning from those within the faith community (earlier generations included).
    • Sharing, experimenting and building on learning with others (so the learning circle widens).
  • A Strong Work Ethic:
    • Making and keeping commitments.
    • Returning calls and emails.
    • Being faithful in administrative work.
    • Putting in the hours to make it happen.
    • Organizing my schedule for high impact and not for comfort.
    • Being ethical, honest and having the courage to make the tough choices.
  • Personal Credibility:
    •  Living my faith daily through spiritual practices – which includes prayer, Bible study, service, worship, etc.
    • Living in relationship with others in a way that honors differences, keeps confidences and respects boundaries.
    •  Tithing my income & using our financial resources in such a way that if they were public I would not uncomfortable.
    • Ongoing accountability to a small trustworthy group of people who know my BS and will call me on it.
  •         Flexibility:
    • Having an appropriate sense of give and take with others.
    • Being able and willing to change and adapt to people who see the world differently than I do.
    • Having a sense of humor & not taking myself too seriously which includes knowing when to move on and doing so without anger or regret.
  • A Deep Love for Christ’s Bride (the Church):
    • A deep and abiding belief that the church is one of God’s key tools for the redemption of the world.
    • A love, compassion and care for the people in the church and a desire to serve them and to build community among and with them.
    • A commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world which includes meeting, building community and working with people outside the church.
  • Self-awareness:
    • Working to know myself through assessment and other tools.
    • Reflecting daily – look for patterns, noticing where I am frustrated and where I feel most alive.
    • Setting goals and working to complete them (using a coach when needed).
    • Excellent self-care with includes morning and evening rituals.
    • Asking for and receiving feedback from my accountability group and from others in my field.

What is your #1 Core Competency?  I’ll share my #2 shortly –


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