Executive Leaders: 3 Steps to Mastering Your Responsibilities


Matt Wright

Fri Apr 14 2023

Sometimes, we just wish we could be good at everything

As executive leaders and pastors, our job is incredibly broad. Simultaneously we need to discover vision, build a strategic plan, manage the business, pastor our staff, equip our volunteers, and support our pastor, all while forming people spiritually, building a healthy culture, and meeting the budget. Oh, and don’t forget to take care of your family. And yourself. I’m exhausted just typing that. 

As an executive leader, I’ve found myself incredibly discouraged when yet another surprise fire pops up that I need to put out. Why didn’t I see that one coming

Sometimes, I just wish I could be good at everything! But here’s the reality: I’m not good at everything, even if my job tells me I’m supposed to be good at everything. 

And you aren’t good at everything either.

The truth is we all tend to give more attention to areas of our job that a) match our interests, b) match our experience or expertise, or c) are highly visible from our seats. 

If an area of our job doesn’t match what we’re good at, what we love, or what we see, the odds are significantly higher that something will go wrong in that area.

Here’s a simple 3-step structure I’ve used to help with this dynamic: 1) Build a Map, 2) Build a Habit, and 3) Build a Toolbox.

1) Build a Map

Take 20 minutes and brainstorm everything involved in your job. Then, boil them down to 5–7 major buckets to create a Responsibility Map. Each one of the buckets has to be tangible, where you’d know it if you weren’t doing that part of your job well.

2) Build a Habit

Use your map to methodically assess each area with a “red/yellow/green” for today. Describe the current state, upcoming areas requiring attention, potential problems, and clear next steps. This exercise might take 15–30 minutes. Build a habit of doing it weekly or monthly.

3) Build a Toolbox

Think through each of the areas on your Responsibility Map. What are 2–4 tools or systems that you can use in each area of the map? If an area is “yellow” or “red,” these are the tools you’ll use to address the issues. Examples could be anything from a strategic planning system to a talent development template or management discipline.

Building a map, a habit, and a toolbox can be a game-changer for mere mortals who aren’t good at everything! 

And here’s a “bonus build”: Build a Community. Leading in a church is hard. Why in the world would you do it alone? Sometimes knowing who to call is almost as good as knowing what to do.

When you’ve got a community of support, they help you maximize your growth, develop the right habits, and make the most of your toolbox. 

That’s where we can help. 

Join our one-year Executive Leader Cohort to dive deep into these issues, get intentional coaching from leaders who’ve been there, and learn with fellow church executives in a tight community. 

To learn more about the upcoming Executive Leader Cohort, schedule a call with me, or find more details and sign up today.

Learn About the Cohort

Matt Wright

For over 20 years, Matt has served in local churches in roles ranging from Worship/Creative Arts Pastor, Executive Pastor, and Lead Pastor. After working in the marketplace, Matt began vocational ministry in church leadership with a natural passion for focusing every effort of the church on the Great Commission with intentional leadership, careful shepherding, and effective strategic planning. Most recently, Matt served as the Executive Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, IL. Before his role as XP, he launched and was the Lead Pastor for Willow Creek’s South Lake Campus and the Executive Pastor for Willow Creek’s North Shore campus. In addition, he has coached many churches and nonprofits across multiple denominations, both in the US and abroad. These combine to give Matt a broad experience base that he loves to utilize to help individuals and churches find their sweet spot between the way God created them and the work he is calling them to do (Ephesians 2:10). He relishes every opportunity to help build remarkable teams that move churches forward. Matt brings all this passion, excitement, and experience to his role as Vice President of Slingshot’s Senior Leadership division. This world-class team serves churches across the country in all areas of senior leadership, including Lead Pastors, Executives, Campus Pastors, Teaching Pastors, Discipleship Pastors, and more. Matt and his wife Christa have three (very active) boys and reside in Chicago. They love time together, music, their small group, and complaining about the Chicago weather.