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Core Christianity: Tough Questions Answered

FAQ: Should the Pastor Make All of a Church’s Decisions?

by Adriel Sanchez posted April 28, 2023

Is it okay for a lead pastor to make all the decisions for a church? Does the Bible say anything one way or another about these kinds of leadership questions?

The lead pastor making all the church’s decisions is a recipe for disaster. The Bible has clear teachings on how churches should be run, and in the New Testament, churches were governed by groups of elders. These men oversaw the spiritual care of the church. The Bible also talks about deacons, who helped steward the church’s finances and gave money to church members in need.

That was the structure of the New Testament church. We don’t see examples in the Bible of one pastor all by himself, controlling everything. No, ordinarily, churches should be led by a group of called, qualified men who serve as elders. That’s why Paul wrote to Titus, “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Tit. 1:5) That’s very clear. Paul also describes the qualifications for elders in both Titus and 1 Timothy 3.

Now, there are times when a pastor plants a church and isn’t able to raise up elders at first. Usually, it’s helpful in those situations to have an outside elder board or group of people who provide accountability. So, in extraordinary circumstances, a church may not look like the scriptural model. But we should pursue a plurality of governance by a group of elders within each local church. This gives the church’s pastor accountability and oversight.

As a pastor myself, I lean on the elders of our church. I depend on them to take care of a lot of what happens in our church. One person can’t do everything. When a pastor tries to do everything, things usually start to go south. No one person has all the gifts needed to lead the church.

The church’s leaders, like all Christians, have different gifts and they need each other. So we should pursue the leadership structure that God provides for his people in the New Testament and not try to go it alone.

This article is part of our Frequently Asked Questions series. Listen to Pastor Adriel answer this question on Core Radio here.

Dig deeper with these free resources from Core Christianity:


How Do I Choose a Church?, What Do I Do When I’ve Been Hurt by the Church?, Why Are There So Many Denominations?


8 Things Everyone Should Know About Church, 6 Things You Should Know About Spiritual Gifts

Photo of Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez is pastor of North Park Presbyterian Church, a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, he also serves the broader church as a host on the Core Christianity radio program, a live, daily call-in talk show where he answers listeners' questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. He and his wife Ysabel live in San Diego with their five children.

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