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Caring For Your Pastor

A code of best practice for churches to ensure their leaders thrive.


Churches that thrive spiritually are led by pastors who are thriving spiritually. Yet it is a sad irony that those with the responsibility of feeding others are sometimes the least well-nourished and cared for people themselves.

The pastoral well-being of pastors and their families is a key responsibility of the church. Sometimes it seems as if secular organisations are more committed to the care of their employees than churches are to the care of those who serve them. Not only is that contrary to Scripture, but it’s a poor witness to the world and an obstacle to the spread of the gospel. Churches should be shining lights when it comes to caring for pastors.

One factor that can help the spiritual vitality of a pastor is the terms agreed with the church as the basis for their relationship. The highest possible standards should apply to the way in which the terms of appointment for pastors are determined and implemented. Pastors who are unburdened by anxieties over terms and circumstances of ministry are more able to concentrate on the work of the gospel and leading the church in the joy of the Lord. Any lack of clarity or agreement can lead to a breakdown in the relationship between a pastor and their church, which is always devastating to both.

This Code of Best Practice exists to promote positive, grace-filled relationships that reflect the gospel, foster a culture of spiritual health throughout the church, and bear a good testimony to the world around us.

The Code lays out a number of core scriptural principles and values to help promote good practice. Each church and each pastor is responsible for agreeing the terms and conditions which will ensure pastors are well-nourished and sustained in grace-filled service.

We use the generic “pastor” throughout this code. However, the spirit of the code applies to all paid church leaders and church-based gospel workers, whether locally referred to as “pastor”, “minister” or by some other title. In the same way, all references to “leadership team” mean church officers, elders, or the equivalent leadership body within the church.

Important: This document is published by FIEC to encourage churches and church pastors to maintain high standards of pastoral care and the spiritual health of those involved in church leadership. It does not constitute legal advice. It is important that legislation, in particular, employment and charity law, is considered alongside the application of this code.

Download 'Caring for Your Pastor'

If you’re yet to call a pastor, this companion booklet may be of help: Calling Your Pastor.

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