Churches: The role of trustees and spiritual leaders

One of the frequent questions that can be asked is about trustees in churches, and how that role interacts with those of the spiritual leaders; ministers, pastors, elders etc. This issue can create confusion and even at times tensions between people. As a result it is an important issue for those involved in church leadership to understand.

The confusion and tension comes out of what the church is; not only a community of Christians working together to evangelise, love and disciple principally governed by the teaching in the Bible but also, very often, a charity governed by UK law. The Charity Commission has guidance for trustees and the Bible has principles for good leadership. These need to work together if the church is to be well governed in both aspects.

It is important in each church setting to work out how these leadership principles are best achieved. This will depend on the type of structure a church has, and who the individuals are in the team. When these are understood and there are good relationships between the people on the team, the different roles work well to support each other and achieve good spiritual direction and good legal governance. Where there is misunderstanding or poor relationships (and one tends to lead to the other), there can be gaps or frictions leading to problems in either or both of the spiritual and legal leadership of the church.

If you want to read more on this area, see the external links below. If you think your own church could improve in this area then humbly ask God for help, seek to understand the others in your team and work to see this resolved in line with the teaching of Ephesians chapter 4. There is also help available from one of Stewardship’s Consultants, who have practical experience of being involved in both spiritual leadership and trustee roles, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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