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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According to the Scriptures, the Pastor's role is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. I believe this includes the associate ministers. Therefore, the role of the Senior Pastor is to help the associate ministers come to know how they are gifted to do ministry and help them get the necessary skills to minister fruitfully in that area. One poor assumption we make is that all preachers are called to pastor. There are numerous needs within and without the body of Christ that takes more than pastoral anointing. The Word of God needs to go forth in boys' and girls' homes, jails, small groups, schools (gotta be creative with that one), etc. The bottom line is that there is to be the seeking of a bond between the Senior Pastor and associates so that if the Senior Pastor sees something in the associate that they cannot yet see in themselves, there is enough trust between the two where the associate can be appointed to a particular area of ministry that is best suited for them, the Pastor, the body, and the community. Sometimes associates need to be appointed to areas of ministry so they maximize their potential. This may mean being put in a position so that gifts may be discovered that the associate did not know they had or they may have known that they had them, but underestimated the worth of those gifts to the body.

The associate ministers are responsible to the pastor in being in the right place with the right attitude. Whether or not you understand the vision is secondary according to Jim Collins' Good to Great and the Bible. Greatness did not come because folks understood vision. Greatness came because they understood what God said and did it...by faith! As an associate, I would look for voids in the ministry and ask if I could fill the one(s) I felt I was suited to fill. There is more to ministry than preaching from the pulpit. What makes or breaks a lot of pastors in addition to our own weaknesses is the folks around us. Jesus constantly worked at the mindset of His disciples because the work was not finished at the cross nor at the resurrection. The work was to continue in and through 11 obedient men who were trained and mentored by the Master. Too many Senior Pastors are intimidated by folks around them who can carry on the work in their absence or after their departure. I am working with the other pastors in my church (around 5) and associate ministers (around another 15!) so that they are equipped to make the vision a reality. I want them to be as bad as they can be so that as I am lead of God to advance the kingdom with churches, cell groups, etc. around the world the church here in Warner Robins is not lacking.

The results/ramifications for both parties lacking is undeveloped gifts, untapped potential, unborn fruit for the kingdom, unsaved souls, and church members added to the church without their being developed into Spirit-filled disciples, and God lacking glory. It is important for associates to be developed and hungry enough to take intiative toward their own development.

I've already said too much. I'll stop here. Be encouraged!
What does the scripture give insight to. When you have a gift you are to be led by the Holy Ghost and no one else. Amen

Your pastor has his gift and he should be led by the spirit also. When you both are led by the Holy Ghost there will be unity and you will all flow with the spirit.

Paul said ye may all prophesy one by one but let it be done to the edifying of the body of Christ and decently and in order. That means don't just be babbling off in the flesh when the Holy Ghost is finished with you sit down and let another go forth as the spirit moves.

Pastors quit hogging (for lack of a better word) the pulpit you were not supposed to do it all. That is why God gave the church all theses gifts.

The body works together you need these gifted people. You cannot perfect the saints by yourself. And yes these gifted people are sitting right under your nose. You don't have to go out and pay money for other people to come in.

Don't try to run Gods church like a secular business. Thats whats wrong. Be led by the Spirit and each person submit to the work of God in each gifted individual.

Forget about the gentile rule. You all are all servants to each other and the congregation you are ministering to.

People are so concerned about who's the boss. What did Jesus say in his word. He that is chief among you is your servant. Lets settle this. Jesus is the boss. The holy ghost is the boss. God is the boss.

Another thing the vision is that we are to save ourselves and others. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Folk always talking about get with the vision. The vision was set 2000 years ago and it is still the same. Save yourself and save others. Building buildings is not the vision. Building people is. Get yourself and the people ready to meet God. He is coming soon. We have little time.

Quit trying to make a name for yourself and your ministry. God gets the glory for without sending his only son Jesus Christ we would all be damned to hells fire. We didn't do anything God and the Lamb Jesus Christ did it all. Amen. Amen. Amen.
I agree with you, Dr. Dionne, but I wonder if the relationship may be more of the Senior Pastor exposing the associate minister to the necessary tools and resources that will equip them with the (1) necessary impartation to help them live a godly life with particular emphasis on prayer and meditation, and (2) homiletical and hermeneutical skills that will help them to rightly divide the Word. There must be a "synergistic alliance" but I would put more of the responsibility of the development of the associate minister on the associate than on the Senior Pastor. If the associate is not hungry enough to seek impartation, they will hinder their own development.

I say this because there are waaaaaaay too many ministers who simply want to preach, but aren't too concerned about their lifestyles outside the pulpit nor are they seeking other areas to minister besides the pulpit. There are plenty opportunities to minister besides the pulpit of a church. Some doors open for us because we were looking for them and PREPARED ourselves and POSITIONED ourselves for God to use us and bring glory to His name. However, again, there are some ministers hindering their own development because they lack initiative and hunger for development. Sooooooooooo, again, the Senior Pastor plays a very important part in the associate minister's development. But, there's more responsibility on the associate to maximize their potential by asking questions, building their libraries, seeking mentoring relationships with their pastors, taking classes, etc. Agree?
As an associate, I have gone through what most associates experience. The heavvvvvy desire to preach, and our focus (because of lack of experience) is mainly on that fact. However a wise Pastor imparted a peice of wisdom. The associate should view the Pastor as the tree, and the minister as a fruit of that tree. The fruit can only be picked in the right season when the fruit is ripe and fully developed. If it's too early the ripening process is interupted and the fruit could perish being away from the source, which is the tree. If it's too late, a rotten fruit affects other fruit around it. The first thing is to know when your season is.

Remember you are a armour bearer, you carry a heavy responsibility. During this time learn patience. Look at it just like a 2nd or 3rd string player watching a game from the sidelines saying, "If that was me, I would have done it differently." We have to play the hardest during practice, so when it is our opportunity to play, we are game-ready.

Secondly, during the time of your development, minister in Nursing Homes. Ths is the best stage to tune your gifts and preach, as well as prison ministries, shelters, youth homes, hospitals, and etc. These ministries will help you see other areas of ministry besides the pulpit. You will gain a huge understanding about working with various people at different stages in their lives. If the ministry does not exist, work with the Pastor to develop the ministry or any other ministry.

Lastly, remember as an associate, you are required to ride in the second chariot, which is positioned behind the Pastor. You are to support the vision through finding your spiritual growth within the vision not outside the vision. The vision will always be big enough to allow you to grow internally then externally. Never let the crowd approval and applause, when it is your opportunity to minister from the pulpit, create the air of greatness. Always remember to stay HUMBLE. If not, you will only focus on the hype of the crowd and that can cause you to listen more to the call of the people than the call of God. When your season comes, God will not only give you the vision but provide the provision. As the Pastor sees you grow, that Pastor will also know when it time to send forth.

I would suggest reading "Riding in the Second Chariot" by Rev. E Copeland. Remeber...Your walk with God is never alone.
Awesomely put, Brotha. I thoroughly enjoyed your insight.

I have been pastoring my current congregation for five years. I have been preaching for 17 years, but I have spent about nine of those years as an associate. I ministered in shelters, juvenile detention centers, and started youth Bible studies and evangelism ministries, etc. So, I agree with you that there are other areas of ministry.

Finally, I met Copeland and read his book. He was a facilitator for a ministers' retreat when I was in Albany, GA a few years ago. He's from Illinois, right? Good guy and good book.

Thanks for sharing.
God bless you,
You are correct. He is from Illinois and a wonderful person of God. I wished we could set-up a conference or ministers retreat for associates. This would be a great opportunity to teach the role of an associate, which would make better Pastors for the future. If you know of any such meeting, please share...


To God be the Glory,
I'm not aware of any such conference strictly for associates. I don't know if E.K. Bailey's preaching conference or the Hampton Conference treats this issue. I've never attended any of them. But, as a Senior Pastor with around 20 licensed associates and another five or so awaiting licensure, I may host one myself and invite Bro. Copeland and some others to come. Holla back and pray with me about it.
An awesome undertaking..Very much needed. Keep us posted.
God Bless you,
I enjoyed your analogy of the film process, it added visual clarity to this subject. This is one of those question that everyone wants to know but were afraid to ask. I glad we have this forum to share ideas.
I have a question on top of this question? What if your Pastor doesn't spend the time neccessary to train you, and leaves you to learn from Asst. Pastor, who also doesn't put forth any effort in training and exposing a young minister?
Well, sometimes Senior Pastors have an awful lot on thier plates and have to make the difficult decision as to what they may have to sacrificially delegate to other ministers. When I was an Asst. Pastor, I trained our associates, and now, as a Senior Pastor who is extremely busy, I have asked one of our associate pastors who has an MDiv and pastoral experience to oversee the training of our associates here at our church. So, not being personally trained by your Senior Pastor may not be a bad thing. Have you considered asking your Senior Pastor for one-on-one mentoring where you could possibly spend an hour per week or every two weeks with him? If not, consider asking. Despite the process we have set up here at our church, I still have an open door to one-on-one sessions and only one minister is currently taking me up on it. I offered it as soon as I got here five years ago. To this date only three or so of our ministers have taken me up on my offer. Currently, I have one young man meeting with me every Wednesday for an hour.

I want to go back to something I shared in an earlier posting: the associate has to be hungry enough to take some initiative when it comes to thier own training. No, you cannot and should not have to train yourself. But, expose yourself to websites, e-newsletters, commentary sets, Bible dictionaries, word studies, and other tools we use to exegete the Word. I highly recommend Christian Book Distributors. The website is www.christianbook.com. I spent my early years digging for the tools I needed and investing in my library. I would go over to other ministers' houses who had libraries and get recommendations and etc. It helped out a lot. I still practically do the same thing. I'm addicted to books and learning and I am constantly adding to my library.

If you're hungry for the training, God will put the folks in your life to help you. But, you gotta have some initiative. No matter who trains you, whether its your Senior Pastor, Asst. Pastor, or the Holy Ghost Himself (feel free to challenge me on that one), they can only do so much. YOU ARE TO STEWARD YOUR ANOINTING!!!

Again, ask your Senior Pastor for some one-on-one time. I have plenty more to share and I would love to share it. If you'd like to hear it, holla back.

One more thing, what do you mean by "exposing a young minister"?
when I say expose I mean minister outside of our church, meet other men of God...I teach the young adult bible study and host a youth confrence once a year, but outside of that I get no "on the job training" except for everyday situations. I have asked my Pastor who actually has never given me an answer, and I just don't want to teach myself doctrine that my Pastor doesn't believe(even though it is biblical)...basically I need help and direction!

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