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Service Pastors: Why, What, How & Who?

Dec 2 2016

The bigger your church grows and the more services your church has, it becomes more important to be intentional in ensuring that every individual who comes to your church is welcomed, known, and loved. The way we’ve navigated this in many of our Hillsong Church locations around the world is by implementing the Service Pastor structure.

Why do we have service pastors?

One of the main benefits of having service pastors is that it releases the Senior Pastor or the Campus Pastor of the church. It releases them to focus on big picture elements of the church such as vision and strategy, and it releases them to prepare sermons to deliver at weekend services.

A further benefit is that you can develop a team of volunteers that are completely people-focused rather than operations and logistics. Having this is great for creating a culture of community and family. We love to prioritise a ‘welcome home’ experience for all those who come through our doors, and having Service Pastors lead specific volunteer teams really helps to facilitate this process effectively.

What do Service Pastors do?

One of a Service Pastor’s main responsibilities is to build up volunteer teams whose focus is to give a ‘welcome home’ experience to every person who walks through the doors.

We are all creatures of habit – and these habits extend to our tendencies at church as well, e.g. which service we go to, what time we arrive and leave, even down to the specific chair we choose in the auditorium. The Service Pastor structure allows us to create a framework to intentionally welcome and connect with people around their natural habits and how they engage with our church.

How do Service Pastors do this?

At Hillsong Church, we’re broken it up into four key pillars of the service that the Service Pastor is responsible for looking after. The Service Pastor builds and releases four volunteer leaders to oversee and grow each area of the service.

These areas include:

1. New People Network

This area is made up of the new people who have visited church and new Christians that just made a decision. The purpose of this team is to welcome all the new people that come on a weekend and help them get connected into church life. It also works with discipling new believers and helping them to grow in their newly found faith.

2. Service Active

Service active are the people that come to church, but are not connected into a Connect Group or volunteer team. This area of the service focuses on helping these people to get more connected.

3. Connect Group Active

This area is about helping people to connect into a Connect Group, where they will be grow in their discipleship journey and build solid relationships within the church community.

4. Ministry Active

The ministry active area leader works with service pastors to help people to connect into a volunteer team and helps to care and pastor those who serve on a volunteer team.

Service pastors meet with these four key area oversights, and ensure that they’re healthy, growing, and remain focused on the right things.

Who are our Service Pastors?

Service pastors, ultimately, need to be high-capacity leaders who love the church, and love helping people to get connected and take next steps. Because it’s most often a volunteer role, Service Pastors need to be responsible and will need to be able to manage their limited time effectively. And finally, Service Pastors need to be champions of people, intentional about positioning people in their area of gifting and playing their part in helping other people to flourish.


This thought was originally shared during a webinar hosted by Nathan Miller on the topic of “Service Pastors”, during ‘Online Open Week’ in September 2016. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.

If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.