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I would like to receive insights from the preaching community about spiritual mentoring. What is a pastor's responsibility to his associate ministers as far as spiritual training and development? Conversely, what is the nature of an associate ministers responsibility to his pastor? What are the results/ramifications for both parties if the relationship is lacking?

Tags: development, mentoring, pastor, relationships, training

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Pastor, The church I am currently at is a wounded. Before I came there it had suffered a split I have been blessed where as I get to go and exercise my gift at many churches Im very active in other aspects of th ministry outside of the pulpit I am striving to serve the lord with every fiber of my being. The last thing I want to do is go against my Pastor God has placed him there for a reason. I want to help but I feel that if I approach him about anything he starts to put me in the same catergory with the past associates I know that Im only their for a season but God is to determine the season I pray without ceasing because I and I repeat I would rather leave but The spirit says stay. I respect any leader God has placed over his flock. thank you for your insight God bless!
Rev. Glass, you don't know how blessed you are. You are in the right place, at the right time. Your heart is in order and your mind is right. Follow your Spirit. A great preacher said " God makes messages out of messy situations." Consider this:
1) Maybe, this is the place God wants you. God may have sent you there because in your Pastor's private prayers, he may have been praying for someone like you. Full of gifts and talents, ready to help him because he needs the help.
2) Try first by doing whatever you can to support your Pastor, not looking for credit but looking to help him because to love the Lord. Your presence there will do two things. Inspire those who love God to model thenselve like you or reveal theirselves because of you. Some will thank you, others will not. but your Pastor will learn that he can lean and depend on you. But most importantly God will promote you in this season.
3) Learn how to present your ideas in small pieces. effective change that place gradually.
4) Follow your Spirit.

It's time to roll up your sleavces and get to work
The wisdom which was giving is great.
Aw, man. A split? Wow. Okay. Wounded churches are tricky. My church is wounded, too; not from a split, but from a messy situation from my predecessor over something that happened seven years ago. I've been at my church for five years and I'm still hearing of the hurt in my congregation.

What we are looking to do is have an off-site retreat/workshop whatever you wanna call and have a neutral third party come in, in my absence (risky, but I'll take my chances), so members can get their "issues" off their chest. The hope is that we can move forward at a faster pace. We're looking to do this in the next three months. Perhaps, this is something you want to propose...in due time... to your pastor. I don't know. But, I do know, from current experience, that dealing with a hurting group of people is a trip. One thing that helps me is my sense of humor, my own happiness, and a determination to press on toward the future I know we can still create. The bones can live if you focus on the future. Many would say you can't focus on the future if you can't get over your past. The prophet of God, however, must have the ability to deal with the past, present (valley full of bones and very dry), and focus on the future (speak to the bones and tell them "I shall"). This may be how you can help your pastor. Ask him about his vision for the future and how you can help him make it manifest. I'd still do all I can to disarm him, though. You're in a tricky situation. But, God has you there for a reason and, as you said, a season. Learn all you can, help all you can, and press on.

Thanks for sharing. Be encouraged!
Brutha,
I know how you feel, but I found out one day that the problem is not always a jealous Pastor, but one who recognizes your ability but doesn't completely understand how to harness your ability. I used the word harness because even as a horse wears a harness to be under control, it does not deminish the fact in recognizing that the horse has power. It means that the rider acknowledges the horse's power but sometimes it's difficult for us to trot when we rather run full speed. As a young minister serving under your mentor, it's easy to second guess and feel if you were in the position, you would or could do things better. I know from experience as I too serve a Pastor who has been in the same Pulpit for 53 years. I'm often ask to complete pastorial duties, tasks, messages, or speaking engagements for him because his strength doesn't allow him. I praise God for this opportunity for on the job training, but this type of relationship exsists because My PASTOR can trust me. He assures me constantly that What God has for me, will be for me. I have to be patience enough to wait on God.

So how do you gain the trust from your Pastor without appearing to be over-eager? Pastor Clarke has some great suggestions, but I would like to add more.

1) Ask your Pastor how you can help him fulfill the vision for the church God has given him. Yes, God speaks to you and can use you, but in your position you are the Man in the second chariot. You are the armour-bearer. When you take on this position, you will find that your pastor we see you as an asset and not a threat. He will use your strengths to in areas where he is weak.
2) Show yourself loyal even if in your heart you feel he is wrong. This is the period when God is watching you to see your leadership qualities.
3) Remember: Every Leader was once a great follower.

Finally, Don't LISTEN TO THE CROWD. this is the worst mistake of a gifted associate. Remeber the same people who were praising Jesus, where also the same people yelling crucify him. They will hype you up, build you up, raise you up, just before they set you up. You soon start to think that's it's all about you, but it's not. It's about God. Look at it this way. A friend of mine goes bowling every week. Each week he takes 4 balls. I asked him being funny, "Why so many balls, I mean they all look the same. Round with three holes, you roll it and they hit the same 10 pins?" He answered me by saying this. "You are right, but the reason i use so many different balls is because when I select a ball, I chose the one that feels right." He explained that for each situation, he choses the one that feels right for the situation. God does the same thing in the church every sunday. There are plenty of people able and capable to preach the word, but God uses the one that feels right for that situation. Some times it's you and sometimes it's someone else. Your joy is just being in the bag to be use when you are right for the situation.

I hope this helps you understand your situation. Before you approach your pastor, I would pray to God to give you a humble spirit, the ability to recieve re-approach with love, and the patience to see this season through. This will help you understand your Pastor and how you should position yourself. When your season comes (and it may be soon) you will understand how to be a good mentor to young ministers who will approach you the same way.

Praying for your Patience/Understanding
I don't know what we gone do wit U, Docta Moore. Great post. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Please keep sharing.
Awesome wisdom giving!
I thought that I was the only one who knew of Pastors like that. (smile) Some of us older ones have been in the work so long that we have developed a warped sense of ownership. We have become so jealous of "our" pulpit that unless we are on vacation or sick, our associates never get an opportunity to preach, let alone a visiting minister. I think to a certain degree, we need to be zealous for the Lord's pulpit and guard against some who will not study or pray and will get up and say things that are totally un-scriptural and not of God. However this pastorial shining is not condusive to the body of Christ or the kingdom work. I am a pastor with two wonderful associate ministers. All 3 of us share the work of preaching and ministering to the congregation. I spent 12 years as a chief of police in a town where the general opinon was that I ought to be present on every call that my officers responded to. If God has truly placed you in a position of leadership, you should not have to do anything to remind yourself or any one else who and where you are. It has come to a point in our church where the 3 of us look forward with great anticipation to hear what the Lord has to say from the mouth of the other. JMS
My Sister,
A Pastor's responsibility is to shepherd and to be a role model for his/her ministerial team. He/She sets the tone and teaches, corrects and directs his/her ministers to teach and preach the Word of God by his/her example and by meeting with each associate pastor, minister, evangelist on his ministerial staff to get their input, answer their questions and assist them to mature in the Lord and in their role as ministers/servants of God. The associate pastor's responsibility is to follow leadership, ask for assistance if needed and to go to the Pastor for matters that concern the church or the spreading of the Gospel. If there is no communication between the Pastor and the associate Pastor, the people of God get mixed messages (and don't you think they are not watching); the associate Pastor is without direction and is left to do things without first running it by his/her Pastor and eventually there can be chaos.
I agree with you totally. We have been hosting a month long prayer revival at our church and an evangelist from another church has been leading us. One of the wonderful things about her is that she will be the first to tell you that she ministers under the earthly authority of her pastor and would not have been doing this for the past 4 years if her pastor said otherwise. Likewise when she is with us during the month of February, she lets it be known that she recognizes the pulpit authority of our congregation and submits to it. Of course, even though I am the pastor, I make every effort to set forth an example of followship during these special services and ministries. Because I realize that I am not the only one that God can use or speak to and through. JMS
I am privileged to have two humble and faithful men of God who began their preaching ministry under me. The first one is about 4 yrs my senior. A great student of the word and a proven teacher and proclaimer. Three years after he was liciensed, a small local congregation called him to be their pastor. My error as his pastor was in thinking that because of his age and maturity in the word, that he was fully equipped to take on this task. It took about a year and a half of dealing with "us" to bring him(and me) to the realization that he was not ready to pastor. I know now that I should have known better then. I was eighteen when I was called into the ministry and I liciensed by a much older pastor who was very firm in his belief that just having oratory skills and homeletical skills did not automatically prepare a person to pastor. IT is a great responsibility that the pastor holds in mentoring non-pastoring preachers regardless of their age. The Pastor cannot, as I did in the past, neglect to feed the matured sheep as well as the lambs. There is just too much that can go wrong and cause great harm to those just starting out in the preaching ministry if they are left to try to feed themselves. Likewise, young ministers must, as these two men are, be humble enought to follow good leadership. In my younger ministry days, I could not go and preach any where without first getting approval from my pastor. I understand now that he was not trying to control me. His goal was to guard me from the pitfalls that many young ministers fall into. After you preach that first sermon and people come out of the woodwork praising you, it is easy to think that your present popularity will carry you through out your entire ministry. Not so, for there will be times when deacons who have not learned how to follow you will attempt to make you follow them. There are times when you will have to make a decision that will be for the good of the entire body of believers that will make you a target fro the wrath of some members today who were just peachy with you yesterday when they fell within the favorable areas of your decision. So yes, it is a dual responsibility for both the pastor and the associate. JMS

I remember now that at about 20 years old, another local church approached me about being their pastor. When I told my pastor he did not even blink an eye, let alone take a breath, when he said to me "you are not ready". While my youthfulness encouraged my feathers to be a bit ruffled, I was always submissive to the leadership and authority of my pastor. I regret that I allowed this minister's age in years to make me overlook his undeniable adolesence in the ministry. I prayed earnestly that God would forgive me and ask forgiveness of that preacher for not providing wiser counsel during that time. I've since committed myself to providing both associate the necessary "nuts and bolts" of pastorial leadership. I am convinced that when the Lord appoints the first associate to lead another church, he will be thoroughly equipped. The second associate is two years younger than me. A dedicated believer and devoted family man. He has been serving under my leadership a lot longer than the first but did not heed the call to the ministry until a year ago. Both of these men are my friends. We dedicate time each week to spend together in fellowship, prayer and teaching. The areas of pastoring that they constantly witness me dealing with as well as the experiences I have had in the past 30 years and two congregations of pastoring are constantly shared with them.
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I wish I had time to really elaborate on your comments. But, I had to take the time to thank you for blessing and encouraging me with your post. I feel exactly what you're saying. Thank you and God bless you! I'll share more later.

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