Team players

What do associate pastors want?

My friend had a dazed look when I asked how his work as an associate pastor was going. Then he ripped into his senior minister: “He won’t communicate! He thinks ministry is only for ordained people—preferably him alone! He doesn’t even seem interested in what I do at his church!” Then he grew pensive: “We’re like strangers passing on the street—in the same place, but not connected at all.”

Another associate minister in the room tried to comfort him: “Hey, it’s not his fault—seminaries were terrible back when he came through. Anyway, you’re smarter than he is.”

When I told a senior minister about this exchange of commiseration, he sighed. “Sometimes with my staff I feel like my dad did during a long car trip with the family. When the kids would get rambunctious in the back, he’d take just so much before turning around to give us a good whack.”


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