I’ve spent 12 years serving as a staff pastor at two different churches. Both experiences have been unique, positive, and challenging. I don’t plan on ever being a lead pastor, so I’ll spend my entire career serving on a staff rather than leading one.
If you are a staff pastor, no job is ever 100% secure. Things happen, economy has its ups and downs but there are four strategic things you can do to make yourself an indispensable staff pastor.
1. Find the most important objective your pastor wants to accomplish and put yourself in the middle of it.
–Volunteer to lead a task force to accomplish the objective.
–Be a good listener. For instance, if you hear frustration from him on why the church has a low retention rate for visitors, make note of it and take initiative to help craft a solution.
2. Make strategic connections for your pastor.
–Make sure these relationships are life-giving and not things that give him more work.
–Make sure they are strategic and contribute to accomplishing his present objectives or future dreams.
3. Bring more solutions than problems.
–When you see a problem, it’s tempting to let your pastor know right away about it. Instead, stop and brainstorm solutions. When you tell him the problem, offer several ideas to solve the problem. And when you offer your ideas, volunteer to be a part of the solutions.
4. Think team, not silo.
–Don’t always talk about your needs or your budget. Instead, offer to sacrifice for other team members or departments. Find ways you can show your ministry is not singular in focus but recognizes it’s part of the whole. For example, your youth leadership team can volunteer to do all the set-up for a children’s ministry event.
–Offer to evaluate other ministries. If you’re a respected youth pastor with good relationships with other staff members, volunteer to spend one Sunday a quarter going to the kids’ church and give tips on making it a better experience.
We don’t become indispensable by jockeying for power or claiming our rights, but by humbly and intentionally serving our pastor and our team.
Justin Lathrop is a youth worker and the founder of Help Staff Me. In January 2011 Help Staff Me and Vanderbloemen Search Group united in an effort to serve the church with all their staffing needs. Whether it is a Jr. High pastor or a Lead Pastor we are equipped to meet your staffing needs.