Assistants

There are several types of assistant in connection with pastoral work. If the church is large enough the pastor may have a personal secretary, full or part-time, who will type his letters and other documents, file materials, arrange appointments and travel, and so on. But such a secretary will have nothing directly to do with the actual pastoral work. Then there are two other positions which are similar but subtly different. A pastoral assistant is there simply to help the pastor in any way he can which may or may not include some minor pastoral work, especially visiting. Here the emphasis is on the word “assistant”. An assistant pastor, on the other hand is a pastor in his own right, and may do all that a pastor does by arrangement. In other words, he may preach, counsel, visit, take meetings, and so on. Often an assistant pastor is appointed for a specific ministry, such as young people’s work, student work, evangelism, or visitation. Very often the assistant pastor is chafing at the bit, wanting to do more preaching, and this is only natural. If he is called to the ministry he will be eager to fulfil his ministry. For this reason it is generally the case that assistant pastors do not stay long in that position, but soon move on to their own pastorate. But in the mean time it is a great opportunity to learn alongside a more experienced minister. Some ministers fail badly in this situation, not offering much help at all, and not allowing the assistant to attend meetings that might be helpful. Before appointing an assistant pastor the church leaders, especially the pastor himself, should think very carefully about whether another pastor is needed, or whether an administrator would be better (see elsewhere on “Administration”). Generally speaking, if the church is large enough to need another full-time staff member then an Administrator might be the best choice. However, if it is decided that an assistant pastor is required then an agreement should be reached with the prospective candidate as to what his role will be exactly. A frank discussion should take place as to what training opportunities (if appropriate) or ongoing study programme will be involved, and this should preferably be put in writing. Vague or indefinite promises should be avoided or misunderstandings and even resentment may easily arise.

One Response to “Assistants”

  1. Janise Edgman Says:

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