Church Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

Top Church Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

Every church community is held together by the work of its leaders. It would be impossible to manage the countless administrative, social, managerial and religious duties of the church without their experience and oversight!

In this article, Chmeetings will be exploring the top church leadership roles, responsibilities, and positions. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of what it takes to manage a thriving church community—and a tool that makes it a whole lot easier!

What Church Leadership Structures Are There?

Before we get to specific roles and responsibilities, we need to talk about the various church leadership  structures that exist.The type of church leadership structure will have a direct impact on the roles and responsibilities of its leaders.

Here are three of the most common church leadership structures:


An Episcopalian leadership structure is grounded to its roots in the Church of England.There’s a clear hierarchy of authority within the Episcopalian tradition, that generally involves the following parties:

  • Bishops
  • Vestries
  • Parishes

Parishes—or, self-directed church communities—elect governing boards or leaders known as vestries. These vestries report to bishops, who have the final say in most decisions for churches within their jurisdiction.

There are usually other figures above the bishop (e.g., presiding bishops, archbishops, etc.), but these can vary depending on the church’s specific tradition.


A congregational church leadership structure is quite different from an Episcopalian one. In this type of church,  each individual congregation is autonomous and independent.

There’s no central governing authority telling congregations what to do—each church community makes its own decisions about things like church doctrine, budgeting, and staffing.

Of course, this independence doesn’t mean that congregations don’t work together. Many congregational churches are  members of networks or associations that offer support and resources.


A church with a Presbyterian leadership structure is governed by elders, who are usually elected by the church community.

These elders form a church court, or group of leaders, that makes decisions about the church. The church court is typically made up of two types of elders:

  • Teaching Elders: Clergy who are responsible for preaching, teaching, and administering the sacraments.
  • Ruling Elders: Laity who are responsible for church management and leadership.

Both elders and pastors can be a part of the church court, but only ruling elders can vote.

What Does a Church Leader Do?

Now that we’ve gone over a few of the main church leadership structures, let’s get into the specific responsibilities of church leaders.

Church leaders are responsible for a wide range of tasks, both big and small. Here are some of the most common church leadership responsibilities:

Spiritual Responsibilities

Of course, church leaders have many spiritual responsibilities. These might include:

  • preaching sermons
  • leading Bible studies
  • administering the sacraments
  • providing pastoral care

Spiritual tasks are often the most visible church leadership responsibilities, but they’re certainly not the only! Let’s take a look at some less glamorous—but equally important—responsibilities of church leaders.

Administrative Responsibilities

Church leaders are responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the church running smoothly. This can include tasks like:

  • maintaining church records
  • keeping people organized and on-task
  • budgeting and church finances
  • overseeing church property

These responsibilities are vital parts of a thriving church, but they’re not always the most glamorous tasks. Church leaders often wear many hats and juggle a lot of different balls—but it’s all worth it when they see the church community thriving.

ChMeetings helps simplify these administrative tasks for church leaders by providing a central place for church records, contact information, communication, and task management. All the information you need is right at your fingertips—so you can spend less time on administrative work, and more time on the things that matter most.

Social Responsibilities

Church leaders are also responsible for fostering a sense of community within the church. This can involve things like:

  • organizing church social events
  • leading church groups and committees
  • visiting church members who are sick or home-bound

These social tasks are important for keeping church members engaged and connected to the church community.

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ChMeetings makes it easy to organize and execute the social responsibilities that are expected of church leadership with a suite of purpose-built tools and features. Church leaders can create groups and events, send out invitations, and keep track of meetings and follow-ups—all in one central place.

7 of the Most Important Church Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

In addition to the general responsibilities of church leaders, there are also a number of specific positions within the church leadership structure. Each of these positions comes with its own set of duties and responsibilities.

Here are some of the most common positions within the church leadership structure:

1) Pastor

The pastor is the head of the church, and as such, they have a number of important responsibilities.

These responsibilities can include:

  • leading worship services
  • teaching religious education classes
  • providing spiritual guidance to church members
  • overseeing the administration of the church

Pastors need to be excellent communicators—both in writing and in speaking. They also need to be good at time management and organization in order to juggle the many different tasks that are expected of them.

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ChMeetings can help pastors with some of the administrative tasks that are required of them, such as maintaining church records, sending out communications, and honoring social commitments. Everyone needs help with organization from time to time, and ChMeetings provides the tools that pastors need to stay on top of everything.

2) Associate Pastor

The associate pastor is a church leader who assists the pastor in their duties. As a result, their responsibilities are usually almost identical!

Associate pastors need to have many of the same skills as pastors, including excellent communication abilities and good time management skills. They also need to be able to work well with others, as they will be working closely with the pastor and other church leaders.

3) Youth Pastor

The youth pastor is a church leader who works specifically with the youth of the church. This can include leading youth group meetings, teaching religious education classes, chaperoning events, and providing guidance to church members.

Youth pastors need to be able to relate to young people and understand the issues that they are facing. They also need to be good at communication and organization in order to juggle the many tasks that are expected of them.

4) Music Director

The music director is responsible for leading the church music program.

This can include:

  • Choosing music for worship services
  • leading the church choir
  • organizing special musical events

Music directors need to have a good understanding of music theory and typically need to be able to sing or play at least one musical instrument. They also need to be good at keeping large groups of people organized enough to pull off services and church events.

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ChMeetings allows musical directors to manage their choirs with ease thanks to a suite of tools specifically designed for coordinating and communicating with church groups. Music directors can create events, send out communications, track attendance, and even scan tickets—all from their dashboards!

5) Secretary

The church secretary is responsible for maintaining church records and handling administrative tasks.

This can include:

  • keeping track of church membership information
  • sending out communications to church members
  • coordinating church events
  • maintaining the church website

Church secretaries need to be highly organized and detail-oriented in order to effectively perform their duties. It’s also helpful for secretaries to be comfortable with time management, as they’re often working on a few smaller tasks at once!

6) Treasurer

The church treasurer is responsible for handling the finances of the church.

This can include:

  • keeping track of contributions
  • paying bills
  • preparing financial reports
  • overseeing the budget

Treasurers need to have a good understanding of finances and accounting. They also need to be good at communication, both in writing and in speaking, in order to interact with church members and other church leaders.

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With ChMeetings, it’s easy for treasurers to add, track, and manage contributions to the church through their contributions dashboards. Every contributor’s data can be exported and emailed or printed and mailed with the click of a button. Plus, church members can even contribute online via Stripe or PayPal!

7) Custodian

The custodian is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the church facilities.

This can include:

  • sweeping floors
  • dusting surfaces
  • Taking out the trash
  • performing minor repairs

Custodians need to be reliable and detail-oriented. They should also be comfortable working around people, as they will often be working while services and church events are taking place.

Do Church Leaders Get Paid?

This is a common question, but there’s no easy answer.

In some church denominations, church leaders are expected to serve as volunteers. In other church denominations, church leaders are paid for their time and expertise. How much church leaders are paid can vary widely, depending on things like the size of the church and its budget.

Some church leaders might receive a salary, while others might only be reimbursed for expenses like travel and child care. Ultimately, it’s up to each church community to decide how—or if—to compensate its church leaders.

Can Women Hold Church Leadership Positions?

This is another common question, and again, there’s no easy answer.

In many church denominations, women are allowed to serve in any church leadership role they’d like. In others, women are allowed to serve as deaconesses—but not as pastors or bishops.

In short, there’s no universal answer to this question. It’s up to each church community and denomination to decide for itself whether to allow women in church leadership roles.

Start Simplifying Church Leadership

Church leadership is incredibly important—but that doesn’t mean it needs to be difficult!  With ChMeetings, church leaders can manage their responsibilities with ease. From sending out communications to tracking attendance to managing finances, everything church leaders need is all in one place.

Get started for free today and see how ChMeetings can help you simplify church leadership!

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