Multiplication Center

The Role of the Megachurch Executive Pastor Has Changed

June 27, 2017

By Darren Young

As I interviewed Kadi Cole (a former XP of one of America’s largest megachurches), she made a statement that caught my attention: “The Executive Pastor of today’s megachurch has to have more emotional intelligence than any other leader in the church. They are responsible for understanding everything that is happening and what needs to be done about it. There is no other role quite like it.”

As we sat before a room of executive pastors of large churches, that one statement from Kadi captured for me exactly why we began this journey with these leaders. The growth in the megachurch movement has created significant changes and immense demands for the role of the executive pastor. Executive pastors often carry primary responsibility in leading staff and implementing vision across neighborhoods, cities, regions, and even the world; and all for the most critical mission in the world.

That’s why we launched the Executive Pastor Leader Group.

The breadth of responsibility of an executive pastor makes learning and development needs unique. In working with executive leaders of large churches for more than 30 years, we’ve learned that what pastors like you often need most is a relational network of true peers and seasoned mentors to journey, grow, and thrive with. Information, ideas and understanding are plentiful, but connecting with a small tribe of the right leaders who can challenge, encourage, and support you along your leadership journey is a rare and critical find.

Here is what some of the current participants in our Executive Pastor Leader Group had to say about their experience:

“My time with the cohort was encouraging and eye opening. It helped me realize that many of the issues I face are common in other churches. The time with the coaches helped me simplify our leadership development strategy and make it more tangible and practical for our staff.”

Filipe Santos (South Bay Church)



“My experience within Leadership Network so far has been excellent. The role of Executive Pastor changes from church to church and oftentimes it can be hard to find a singular resource that answers the questions that I have in my role. The ability to interact with mentors who are several steps ahead and the rub shoulders with peers make it immensely beneficial. Further, with such a large amount of talents and skill-sets represented in the room, almost any challenge I’m walking through or struggle I’m experiencing is quickly met by a conversation with someone else present.”

Matt Adrian (CrossPointe Church)

“The church I serve is a turnaround formerly Congregational Church that is changing its culture from staff dominated to encouraging and equipping the ministry of the people. The XP Leader Group gave me a lot of helpful information in the area of leadership development to begin constructing the new leadership model for our church. Just as important, however, are the relationships formed at our first meeting that allowed for follow up on this issue as we further develop and fine tune our model. The group time also allows me to think critically of my own XP work and how to accomplish goals critical to the life of my church.”

George Cladis (Faith Community Church)

“Learning about the nuts and bolts of how multisite works in different contexts, hearing the journey other churches have taken as they made the shift to a multisite model and the realities of what worked and didn’t has provided vital information as we form our own multisite strategy.”

Graham Greenwood (Mill Woods Assembly)



“I significantly increased my effectiveness at leading and managing our 5 campuses with the insights I gained this year.”

Scott Lothery (The Orchard Evangelical Free Church)




Are you looking for a group of true peers and experienced mentors that can help you raise your leadership lid? Are there challenges in your role that have proven difficult to overcome, or opportunities for your church that you are unable to fully leverage? Or perhaps you need encouragement and soul care to fuel your leadership journey?

Consider applying for one of our upcoming Executive Pastor Leader Groups. Click on the button below to learn more.

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