15 Keys to Being a Great Associate Pastor

There are no doubt many qualities that describe a great associate pastor, or really a great employee anywhere. Here are fifteen traits that most senior pastors and leaders are looking for in their staff…

  1. Stay Busy – They come with the “batteries included”, present ideas, get things moving, and don’t need someone else to light a fire under their backside.
  2. Faithfully Follow – They pursue the Pastor’s agenda and not their own.  Although they initiate and take ownership, they do not get out in front of their senior pastor.  They ask for permission, not forgiveness.  
  3. Think Big-Picture – They realize it’s not just about their ministry, it’s about the Pastor’s vision, the whole church, and the Kingdom of God.
  4. Embrace Teamwork – They don’t operate in a silo, but actively contribute to, and care for, the whole team.  They realize that even all-star players are terrible teammates if they can’t work with others.
  5. Listen Well – They realize they don’t have all the answers, so they listen and learn.  They seek advice from those with more experience and wisdom than themselves.  They are humble, not arrogant.
  6. Grow Continually – They continually improve by reading, listening, and gaining experience.   They prioritize daily spiritual growth.
  7. Manage Themselves – They manage their life and ministry well.  They keep a to-do list, calendar, and track of whatever else they are responsible for.  They do not require much, if any, follow-up.  They do their job without needing to be reminded.
  8. Provide Solutions – When they face a challenge they don’t just come to the team with that problem, rather they come and present both the problem and a viable solution.
  9. Avoid Weeds – and fires and icebergs and shipwrecks.  They are emotionally, culturally, ministerially and generally intelligent. 
  10. Empower People – They develop people and work themselves out of a job.
  11. Implement Systems – They work hard to develop systems, so when they are gone everything continues smoothly.
  12. Choose Positivity – Although, like everyone they have good and bad days, they are generally optimistic and upbeat.
  13. Rebound Quickly – They try hard things, which means they fail from time-to-time.  When they do fail, they own it, and then get right back up and keep moving.
  14. Love People – They have a shepherds heart.  They care for people.  Ministry is a ministry to them, and not just a job. 
  15. Take Bullets – They take bullets for their senior pastor, figuratively and perhaps even literally.

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One thought on “15 Keys to Being a Great Associate Pastor

  1. Thank you for your inspiring writings. I have a degree in Health Ministry and worked at my husband’s church in NC. I retired and moved to SC when my husband passed away recently. The small UMC that we joined is beginning to set up a visitation ministry.Betty