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?

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I see no one has posted anything to this discussion in a while. I wanted to share that I have recently resumed direct responsibility for the training of the associate ministers at the church where I serve as Senior Pastor. I have around 18 licensed ministers and I'm licensing five more at the beginning of the year.

I've had some very interesting discussions with them in the past two months. Just last week, we had a discussion on a book I had them read entitled Tuesdays with Morrie. I was curious as to how many of them would read it. Nearly all of them did. We had a good time talking about issues such as teaching and learning, life and death, loving and being loved. Good stuff.

When we meet in January, we'll probably engage in living funerals similar to what Morrie had. It was suggested by one of the associates. I'm giving it serious thought. I think it'l be very interesting. A living funeral is where folks "give you your flowers" while you yet live. Who knows? Maybe it'll birth some serious bonding or just give us a morning full of fluff and BS. C'mon, now. Y'all know how we can get sometimes. I'll keep you posted on what that session will birth.

BTW, have any of you read Tuesdays with Morrie?
I haven't had the opportunity to read it yet, but I will put it on my list of next reads. Also, let me know how the session goes as far as pos/neg results.

I would like to place a twist on this same topic.

How do your associates inter-act between each other? How does or how should a Pastor handle conflicts among the associates?


For the Pastors who share their pulpit with their spouse, how do you handle conflicts in the home and the church between the two of you?

I ask these questions to continue our discovery path of how one should mentor.
Well, as far as I can see, the associates in the "Grove Zone" (Union Grove MBC) interact pretty well. They encourage and support one another. However, there are times when we have discussions during our meetings and it seems as though differing perspectives can be taken personally. I opened the door from day one for disagreeing with one another and even invited them to disagree with me, but I issued a decree: "Thou shalt not get dishonor anyone who disagrees with you." But, I see folks apologizing to one another after our monthly meetings and saying stuff like, "Hey, man, I hope I didn't come across bla bla bla. I didn't mean bla bla bla." You know, emotional intelligence kicking in.

There are desires amongst our ministers for bonding and really getting to know each other. We've tried scheduling informal fellowships, but everyone is so doggone busy it's been hard. We do have a Christmas fellowship scheduled for the 15th of December at a local restaurant. I'm looking forward to it. We're also looking at a retreat next year. It'll be interesting.

A Senior Pastor should handle conflicts among associates tenderly and patiently. You have to work hard not to appear biased. Sometimes the conflicts can work themselves out. What I've done in the past is ask those in conflict how they think things went in a meeting or whatever and then ask if they sensed any tension and, if so, what can be done to alleviate it. If there are conflicts simply in relationships, I've constantly reiterated the Bible giving each of us personal responsibility for going to folks we have an aught against. We seem to have folks in our church, in leadership too, who have an issue with someone, but will tell everyone but the person they have the problem with. It'll take a while to get this teaching to really sink in, but we are seeing progress.

My wife does not minister from the pulpit as I do. We embrace women in ministry, but my wife is involved in other areas. I can imagine it would be hard to leave conflicts at home and minister in the pulpit as if nothing is wrong. If we had to minister together, she would be much better at carrying on in the pulpit hiding our conflict than I would. I need help in handling my anger. Pray fo a brutha.
I've shared in previous postings how the associate's development really requires more of their own hunger to be developed and how they need to show some initiative so to speak. I've started reading John C. Maxwell's Talent is Never Enough and he talks about initiative. I wanted to share something he says, "Talent without initiative never reaches its potential. It's like a caterpillar that won't get into its cocoon. It will never transform, forever relegated to crawling on the ground, even though it had the potential to fly."

I think we could say the same thing about anointing. Anointing must be accompanied by initiative. Initiative was manifest in Rahab's faith when she went up to the roof to ask Joshua 'nem about saving her and her household. She saw and seized an opportunity and took initiative to act on it. Intiative is what Peter showed when he asked to walk on the water...in the middle of a storm...in the middle of nowhere...in the middle of the night. He also showed it on the Day of Pentecost when he gave an explanation as to what the Holy Ghost had done that day. No one asked him to explain it. He didn't wait on an invitation to speak at the Pentecost Conference. He took initiative and spoke.

Again, I want to emphasize that Senior Pastors do have responsbilities in discipling/coaching/mentoring thier associates. Yet, the associate must take ownership of his or her development and show how hungry they are for maximizing thier potential by taking the initiative to become and accomplish all God has ordained.
Pastor Clarke,
That is a powerful illustration of Talent without Initiative. I was moved when I read your comments, because I'm in a unique situation. Before I explain, please understand that I'm not complaining because I'm in a very bless situation.

I serve at a church where the Pastor is well seasoned (89 years blessed), full of knowledge, wisdom, and energy. However, the associates are not as involved in the church. They are there only on Sunday Mornings, never inter-acting with the congregation, not active in any area of ministry in the church, and unwilling to change.

I came to the church because my job transferred my family to another state in 02/2007 and my previous Pastor was good friends with my current Psator. I thank God that I was trained by Pastors who would not allow Ministers to sit idle in the church. Being already License and Ordained, I was immediately but to work in the church and placed in charge of several key ministries of the church.

Now the problem, the opportunity is wonderful and the hours spent working at the church each week are demanding, but I love doing God's work. I want to encourage my fellow brothers in the Ministry to become more involved but it's difficult to communicate in an enviroment where some believe that because they have been members of a church or grew up in a church that CHANGE or INITIATIVE are bad words. My Pastor loves the results of the changes and the Lord is blessing the church through Spiritual and membership growth. My Pastor has asked me to work with the other associates but to this point, they are like the caterpillar that refuses to go into the cocoon. I'm determine to be obedient in my assignment, but how do you help our brothers generate the hunger/initiative without being negative or perceive as negative. I have received an difficult assignment in attempting to motivate my brothers and restore to them the fire and passion of serving God. I'm looking for advice.
Thank you my brother for the encouragement. I praise God for your special day at the end of the month. Being in your shoes only a short time ago, I will say to you: Let Go and Let God.

The challenges are going to be great, but God will give you only what he already knows you can bear. Stay active in ministry and always be willing to be the Armour Bearer for your Pastor. It is during this time God prepares you for your time. My best advice is Study, Study, & Study. Always seek God for a message and prepare for Sunday as if you are going to deliver the message because you never know how God will use you to deliver the message either to a congregation or in a one-on-one encounter. One of the greatest Preachers of my time once said "you can never deliver evrything you have prepare, because 80% of what you have prepared is really for you and 20% is for the congegation. Learn how to give them theirs and how to keep yours."
Bro. Moore,
Let me apologize for not responding to your post. I suppose I got caught up in a lot of things happening around here and never responded.

We seem to have a similar problem. One thing I'm implementing this year is some conquences for non-compliance. This is going to be difficult, but somehow I have to do it. What's on my mind is accountability. Along with membership, whether we are members or ministers, we must be held accountable. What I look to do this year is:
1. Reiterate my expectations and make sure all ministers know what I expect. I have to make sure my expectations are reasonable. One way to do this is to write them down and then bounce them off of other pastors (your pastor first-and get his buy in) and then the ministers themselves and solicit their feedback.
1.5 Share what it is you're trying to accomplish and articulate the qualities and spiritual gifts of the folks you need to help you. If you've already gotten to know the brothas well enough to suggest one of them for a specific task, let them know. If none of the ministers fit the profile you're looking for, move on and find someone who does.
2. Articulate the benefits of compliance and really try to sell them. I have to do what I must to at least try and give the impression that the caterpillars going into the cocoon (using your metaphor) will bless them tremendously. Paint the larger picture with the benefits: how their involvement will bless the congregation, how it will get other men in the church involved, how it will bless the youth, the difference it'll make in the community, the load it'll take off of the senior pastor, etc.
3. Give them an opportunity to volunteer to comply letting them know the consequences of non-compliance.
4. Get the Senior Pastor's permission to tell the congregation what's going to happen to the associate ministers who comply and those who do not and have the congregation help you hold them accountable. I'm not advocating this from a congregational form of government approach, but from an approach where errbody, yes, errbody knows what is expected and that these negroes won't be preaching, teaching, sitting in the pulpit, whatever if they don't meet the fair, Biblical expectations of the Lord, the Senior Pastor, and congregation. These brothas shouldn't want to be ashamed with the whole church knowing that they're being disciplined.
5. Be patient. Get with them one-on-one and find out if anything is happening at home that's keeping them from meeting the expectations. Or, if they feel you came in with good intentions, but inadvertently gave a wrong impression. Or, is it that they cannot read well and are intimidated by the changes you're trying to make because they somehow expose their weaknesses that they've been able to hide all these years? Sometimes, when you sit folks down one-on-one in a non-threatening atmosphere, they can open up and share the deeper issues that make them seem rebellious.

I hope this helps. But, another thing to keep in mind is that we are sometimes better off WITHOUT the folks we THINK we need to help us out. Believe me on that one!!! Sometimes, you can get much more done with less folks. I'm not saying you should operate alone, but remember, Jesus, Himself, only fooled with 12 men. Only 12. One thing I consider is: what am I trying to accomplish and who is anointed to help me. If they do not have a title, but they have the anointing and willingness and commitment to see a thing to completion, I'm better off with them than someone simply because they have a title. I already told my ministers that I'm no longer dishing out responsibilities to ministers simply because they are ministers. So, we already have ministries led by lay people with ministers under them.

Be encouraged!
You need to write a book....once again you are on point and right on target. I will keep you posted of what happens.
I'm enjoying re-reading this post because I'm in the process of trying to design a class for my felow associate ministers. I got the idea from this same forum, when some scholar suggested our role was to fill in the gaps. As a former highschool football plyer, my mind Al Bundy-ed back to the days when as a linebacker that's what I did, and did well! The class will focus on the various responsibilities of the minister putting emphasis on what ministry is and whom it necessiates we become.

I am fortunant because I've had stupendous mentors, models, and teachers who have taken up time with me. I KNOW that not all pastors are the same, but then again I SHO' NUFF KNOW that I know that I know that most ministers especially young ministers like myself aren't humble enough to submit and put ourselves in a position to learn. This is the # 1 mistake. We feel entitled to preach, and focus more on being a preacher than a minister!
Sounds like an exciting adventure you're about to embark upon. Keep me posted. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.
What do you do when you know god put you at a church and your "mentor" seems jealous and it feels as though they could care less about anything but shining, and even when things are obviously wrong and your spirit tells you to say something to your mentor you dont because you dont want to cause conflict within the church. I know that I am to respect my Pastor and I do that; but what do you do when you feel like a harley davidson kid in a mopad gang?
Brutha Glass,

I would:

1. Arrange a private chat in an informal setting and ask the pastor if the two of you could really, really talk. Hopefully, you can talk with him privately and assure him that it won't spread conflict within the church. This may be tricky because most Senior Pastors are extremely insecure and think that all of their associates want to take their church. I'm sure your pastor is not like that.
2. I would prepare the questions I want to ask and share WHY it "seems" (your word) like your pastor is "jealous" and what APPEARS (that's the word I'd use) to be "obviously wrong." As I take questions from my associate ministers, and I take some doosies brutha-just took some this past weekend, I try to give them answers in a teaching sort of way to show them that everything is not what it appears. It is amazing how we can all look at the same thing and have completely different interpretations and perspectives on what's going on. Keep open the possibility that you could be looking at things inaccurately. If you are serious about solving this problem, ask how you can improve and better serve him. If he is indeed jealous, you need to disarm him and......over time.......assure him you mean him no harm and that you aren't after anything but increasing the impact he is having on the people of God.
3. Get accustomed to being a harley davidson kid in a mopad gang. As I continue to lead the people of God, I am finding that we need these harleys in the body of Christ who patiently learn as we lead. Look at the mopeds and see what it is you can learn from them. Believe it or not, there are some principles and values you can gain from them. Also, try to make a connection with them so you can make an impact. Find what you have in common (fishing, checkers, chess, football, love for God, love for the Word, favorite preachers, etc.) and use that as leverage to connect with them and make an exchange-give and receive.
4. Pray without ceasing. Pray for your pastor and yourself. I'll being praying with you. Keep us posted...as discretely as possible!!! Sometimes I wonder if some of us forget we're posting stuff on the Internet.

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