What If You Didn’t Have to Choose Between Health and Growth?

Ten Challenges Executive Pastors Are Facing in 2022

March 28, 2022


Church plants, small churches, limited budgets, and a host of other qualities can force ministry staff to wear multiple hats out of necessity. Yet, there is one position within churches that even if you were to remove most of those qualities would still require this leader to wear multiple hats. The executive pastor. 

If you think about it, often an executive pastor is asked to run operations, finance, ministry leaders, and many more areas. In most businesses, those areas would be split up into multiple job descriptions and filled by a number of individuals. Executive pastors sometimes have to be part unicorn. 

So, it was of no surprise to me that when I polled several executive pastors in a large Colorado city, that they gave a very diverse set of challenges heading into 2022. 

Let’s look at just 10 challenges they are facing in 2022:

  1. Hiring and keeping staff
  2. Staffing structures with reduced/limited budget
  3. Working to encourage our people to focus outwardly
  4. Engaging in discipleship across multiple platforms
  5. Stable giving, yet with smaller in person numbers
  6. Organizational health—building diverse, healthy teams
  7. Staffing up volunteers in rapidly growing care and rescue areas
  8. Budget tools to take a deeper dive into our numbers
  9. Determining if all the subscription platforms are worth what they’re solving
  10. Digital and social Strategy

A Community of Peers

I’m sure all of us can relate to those challenges and none come with an “easy button.” But there is an eleventh one that really stood out to me. The majority of the executive pastors were looking for a community of peers to process with and learn from. We all know that what God has called us into was not a “go-it-alone” leadership model. If we want to remain healthy, we have to journey with others who understand. 

The tension comes when we know we need community, but we also need to grow our skills, our expertise, our leadership selves. Can we find both together? Imagine being asked, “Pick the one thing you want to have this year as a leader: health or growth.” That’s nearly impossible to answer. We need both. 

Many of us then turn to local gatherings of XP’s, but local gatherings are problematic. Have you ever tried to stay in town and get a ton accomplished? Interruptions arise. Everyone, including your family, knows you’re still in town. Texts. Emails. Calls. So, how do we solve that? How do we continue our education, find community, but actually get tangible and executable means to build into the future of the churches we are serving? 

Learning Communities

Leadership Network, under the leadership of new CEO Carrie Williams, has created these communities to take forward-thinking leaders, like you, and give you an opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer learning. If you ask me, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by people who know your pain and your world, and understand those challenges. 

Not only are you learning with peers who are in ministry, but each cohort is grouped by role. That means executives with executives, campus leaders with campus leaders, worship leaders with worship leaders. Your cohort is truly dialed into your role! No more listening to five issues your role will never experience! And…check out these leaders…talk about experience and expertise! They’ve been there and they’ll help you get to your NEXT!

  • Executive Leaders, facilitated by Tim Stevens
  • Campus Leaders, facilitated by Geoff Surratt
  • Worship Leaders, facilitated by Nancy Beach

I also know that we’re all busy and that’s why I love what Leadership Network is doing. They’ve made this commitment EASY! These communities consist of three separate gatherings in three different cities over a seven-month period. In the spirit of not disrupting your leadership pace and schedule, each gathering is ONLY a day and a half. 

Check out these dates:

  •  1.5 days during the week of May 9, 2022 @ Lakepointe Church (Dallas, TX area) 
  • 1.5 days during the week of September 12, 2022 @ North Point Community Church (Atlanta area) 
  •  1.5 days during the week of November 28, 2022 @ Willow Creek Community Church (Chicagoland) 

In 2022, our highest priorities must be growth and health. Finding a community of peers to love, encourage, and learn from is an investment in ourselves. We know that if we remain healthy and continue adding to our growth, then we grow healthy communities that reach our cities and beyond. 

I encourage all ministry leaders to discover Leadership Network’s Learning Communities. It’s an investment in our future. 

More Information and Registration

(Space is limited; first come, first served.)


Pete Heiniger is currently Content Curator at Leadership Network and has served as an executive at Faithlife, a VP at Outreach, and as the Executive Pastor of Discovery Church in Colorado.

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