You are a minister about to walk into a church situation that’s new to you. Either you have been pastoring a small church and are about to join the staff of a larger church where you will serve under the authority and direction of an accomplished veteran or you are young in ministry and your first assignment is to be a member of a church staff.
And you’re wondering what the pastor will expect from you.
I suggest you ask him.
Take good notes because these will be on the test.
You have requests for him–support, sufficient finances, days off, etc.–but at the moment, your bigger question is What does he want from me?
I don’t know all the answer, but I know much of it.
Four things the pastor wants from you when you join his staff.
Do your job well. If you are the worship leader, there is a core curriculum you are expected to master. That would involve worship, of course, but also music, hymnody, and basic biblical theology. In addition, you are expected to stay current in the latest music for churches of your kind, current trends in doing your work more effectively, and such.
If you are the student minister, you should understand teens, the Bible, families, the psychology of working with troubled and godly youth, as well as the various kinds of extra-church activities your young people will benefit from.
Educational ministers will need to know their Bible, Sunday School building back and forward, discipleship, how to work with people, and such.
But, as important as this is, this is not enough.
That fact–that competency in your field is not enough for a staffer–is news to some ministers I’ve known over the years. On several occasions I have encountered rebellious, even ungodly staff members who were toting serious anger toward their pastors for expecting from them more than competency in their chosen field.
I find that incredible. As though any pastor would be so foolish as to bring a man on staff and care nothing at all about his personal life, his spiritual walk, or whether he imbibes or shoots up after hours.
He is your pastor and deserves your support, in word, in attitude, in every way.
Basically, this means the following….
a) If you have a problem with the preacher, you tell him and no one else.
b) If you cannot support your pastor, you resign and leave. Under no circumstances do you try to get rid of him.
c) If you know something about the preacher–maybe something he said to you personally–which others would find salacious or juicy, cut your throat before passing it along.
d) You will speak well of the pastor to others. Don’t overdo this or you will dilute the effectiveness of your support.
If your pastor knows he can unburden himself to you and that it will be mentioned only to God in prayer and to no one else, you have given him a great gift. In turn, he will give you a gift: his trust.
You are to be honest, truthful, of the highest character.
What you do in private is of paramount consideration to the pastor, to your entire congregation, and to your effectiveness. Whether you log on to pornographic sites, read dirty literature, visit the casinos, or take an occasional drink of any forbidden beverage–these matter deeply. If you doubt this, ask the preacher.
Integrity as a church staff member means you will….
a) Turn in accurate expense accounts.
b) Never ever cut corners on your tax returns.
c) Not handle any money in the church unless it is absolutely required of you.
d) Protect your relationships with people of the opposite sex, with little children, and with even members of your gender in certain situations.
e) When asked for a reference for a minister whom you know or used to work with, tell the truth, but the truth in love.
You have a genuine relationship with Christ, one which is maintained and nourished daily through a discipline of Bible reading, meditation, and prayer.
Think of “spirituality” as the reservoir out of which you will do all your work as a minister. If the reservoir is running low, your service for Christ will be seriously impacted.
I know a secret which, if you have not yet discovered, you will: Other people can sense long before you whether you are close to the Lord in your daily walk or far from Him.
You are reading your Bible seriously and loving it. When you pray, you are really touching the Father with genuine worship and solid requests. You are sincere in trying to live the victorious Christian life. You look for ways to share your faith, you are the same in public as in private. And here is what will happen….
One day, someone will say to you, “I admire your Christian walk so much. You are one of the godliest men I know.” And you are stunned. “Who me?” you wonder.
They have picked up on it. You have a consistent walk with the Father.
Likewise, the opposite.
You’ve skipped reading the Bible for weeks now, and find it hard to get started back. Your prayers are perfunctory, and you are phoning them in. Several things happen….
You begin feeling critical toward others, particularly the pastor and your colleagues. You are tempted in some areas which formerly gave you no trouble.
In a quick pressure situation, you come out with a curseword. “Where did that come from?” you ask.
No one will say it to you. But what they are thinking is that even if you are a great minister in your area of expertise, you are not spiritual, not godly, not a good role model.
Your pastor may have other points to add to this list. But even if he has a dozen, I guarantee that these four will have places of honor toward the very top of the list.