THE PASTOR/ASSISTANT RELATIONSHIP
BY RAYMOND R. WATSON, JR.
To have a good pastor/assistant relationship requires a special spirit and attitude. Although the pastor is in a position of authority, he is a servant to the church. The assistant pastor is doubly a servant; not only must he serve God and the saints, but also serve the pastor. The assistant must understand that he is not the pastor. He must also understand that the authority he exercises is not his independently, but it is the extension of the pastor’s authority allotted to him. On the other hand, the pastor should not be afraid to delegate both responsibility and authority to the assistant. In this type of relationship, high visibility of the assistant will be a great asset to building and maintaining confidence of the congregation in the pastor.
To the people of the congregation that the assistant serves, it should appear always that he totally agrees with the pastor. This does not mean that he should stifle his own personality or style. However, he must simply learn to defer to the pastor and not express to others personal opinions about the church that may be contrary to the pastor. Never, under any circumstances, should an assistant disagree publicly with the pastor. There will be times to offer input and give opinion, but it should be done carefully and in the right spirit.
If God called a man to assist, let him do it with honor. An assistant should not be perceived or perceive himself as a second-rate,
immature minister of limited ability. Neither should he have a master-servant mentality. He needs to see himself as an individual fulfilling a worthy ministry. Careful observation shows that much of a pastor’s success is due to his having an effective, efficient, and faithful assistant in whom he has trust and confidence.
Communication and responsibility are a two-way street in the pastor/assistant relationship. The assistant is responsible to be
doctrinally compatible with the pastor, be a strong complement to the pastor’s ministry, and make the pastor always look prepared. Remember, the assistant is an extension of the pastor and the church in everything that is said and done. On the other hand, the pastor should make the assistant feel that he is in a divine calling. He should make the assistant feel a sense of accomplishment, make him feel included as a real partner in pastoring the church, trust him and let him know it, and frankly discuss any topics or issues.
In the area of communication, an assistant of one race can be very beneficial in helping a pastor of another race. For instance, I am a black assistant to a white pastor. I can explain that when communicating in the black religious culture, it is better for the
pastor to address people from an authoritative position rather than a passive position. In addition to this, I can be helpful in interpreting certain word phrases, mannerisms, and cultural differences in the black community that the pastor may not be familiar with.
People have had negative preconceived ideas about interracial pastor/assistant pastor relationships. This mode of thought has
hindered the work of God much too long. It is time to understand that there is a God ordained relationship of interracial pastor/assistant that needs to be filled by qualified, wise, understanding, mature men. When this happens, we will see a revival and harvest of souls across races and cultures in North America.
Since 1983 Brother Watson has been the assistant pastor of Apostolic Outreach Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, pastored by John Cupit.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE FORWARD MAGAZINE, FALL 1999, PAGE 16.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.