Balancing the Healthy Tensions of the Executive Pastor Role with Tyler Althof

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. Today I’m talking with Tyler Althof, the associate pastor from Action Church in Florida. Tyler is with us today to talk about tensions to manage when you are leading from the second chair at a church.

  • We need a sense of security. // As church leaders we need to have a deep sense of security to do what we do because it’s so important. In Acts 4:13 the Jewish leaders saw that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Jesus is the one calling us and equipping us for our roles. We have a battle between security and insecurity inside of us.
  • Don’t hide things. // In the executive/associate pastor position, there are several tensions to manage. First we have tension in protecting and shielding our leader, but not hiding information from him. Insecurity can make you think that you need to hide information or problems from your leader to keep them from thinking you’re a failure. Hiding is a form of self-preservation. If we give in to insecurity, we give our leader filtered information and that can cause them to develop a warped view of the organization. They only know what little you have told them and so they makes decisions without knowing all of the details. They could lose credibility in leadership as a result. 
  • Talk and ask questions. // To combat the temptation to hide things, learn about each other and ask lots of questions. Don’t assume you can do your part well without input from others, so talk to your leader and get feedback.
  • Help develop solutions, but don’t solve all the problems. // Only the senior leader can decide on some solutions and make certain decisions. You might find there is a tension between figuring out what problems they need to decide and what problems you need to help decide. At Action Church the staff knows that higher level issues will need the senior leader’s attention – this includes new things, broken things, and expansion things. Don’t assume that you will solve all the problems yourself; talk with the leader when needed and get another opinion.
  • Be personally involved, but don’t take things personally. // Our hearts are so into ministry that we can put a lot of emotion into our work and feedback can feel like a personal attack on our very life. Find your security in Christ so you can have these conversations with your leader and not be crushed by them.
  • Remember that you are trusted. // Anyone who is in a second chair position is deeply trusted. The senior leader would not give you that level of responsibility if he did not like and trust you. Don’t be afraid to clarify what needs to be done and ask questions about their thoughts and opinions.
  • Think of him as your pastor. // You can be friends with the senior leader outside the church, but when you step on the church property, think of him as your pastor and the one you submit to spiritually. Respect him as the leader and be deeply conscious of how others see you honoring him as your pastor.

You can learn more about Action Church at

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.