(this post is inspired by Tim over at at the Life in Student Ministry blog)
First off, and this should go without saying, Trust and Support your Sr. Pastor. If you can’t do this how in the world do you think your Sr. Pastor can reciprocate? If you can’t trust and support your Sr. Pastor it is probably time to have a conversation with him and then pack your bags.
Trust and Support are earned. I believe I have my Sr. Pastors trust and support because we are like minded. I am not out to build my own ministry or add notches on my “career belt”. I fully understand that we are a team and that we work together to build the Kingdom. I have been at my church for almost 10 years and in those years I have built a friendship with my Sr. Pastor. (another post on longevity in student ministry will most likely come from this. It sickens me that the average youth pastor stays at a church for 18 months.) We laugh at the same episodes of “The Office”, and in years past the same episodes of “Seinfeld”.
We work together to achieve the same goals. A win in our Student Ministry is a win for the church. If there are 10 new students at Impact on any given night we work to get them connected into our Sunday morning Celebration Services. It’s not about trying to “do our own thing”. Our Student Ministry vision is tied together with the overall vision of the church. Together we strive to Impact Central NH with the Father’s Love to raise up a body of believers committed in relationship with Jesus Christ and One Another. I am always on the lookout for something positive happening around our student ministry that I can share with my Sr. Pastor. Again, a win for us is a win for him. It is always encouraging for me to hear him share in a Sunday message about something from Impact that went well.
We struggle together. Ours is a team based ministry. When one is down we are all down. But we work together to get back up. There is no climbing over each other. We speak positively of each other. When someone comes to us with a concern in how something has been handled we send them directly to the source to clear up confusion. We do not allow for accusations from others to serve as fodder for discussions. The Bible is very clear respecting those in authority of us. My Sr. Pastor is in that role and I respect him for it. I look for ways that I can support my Sr. Pastor. Are there things that I can do or say that will honor him? If I see ways in which I can help to “hold his arms up” I will do so.
With all of this said, I do suggest that you have spine and speak your mind. (as a matter of fact, that is most likely what your Sr. Pastor wants of you as well) No one wants a yes man around all the time. You need to be able to give creative input and speak about the ideas that you have. Collectively your church will benefit from your input and you will be stronger as a team. Each of us have specific gifts, talents, and abilities. You need to use them. I defer to 1 Peter 4:10 on this point “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” Know what your strengths are and use them. Acknowledge your weaknesses and find others who can compliment them. Don’t try to be superman. (no matter how hard you try – YOU AREN’T!)
Understand that you Sr. Pastor is not perfect either. Don’t place them up on some pedestal. They will fall. You will be let down at one time or another. Pray for your Sr. Pastor. Support your Sr. Pastor.
In most cases the way you want to be treated and spoken of are the ways that you need to treat others and speak of them. If you can’t give it, you won’t receive it…