They Are Not All Bad!!
I have seen a few blog posts and books circulating around lately about the youth worker/senior pastor relationship. I understand for a lot of people, and a lot of churches, this can be a struggle. I thought I should write a post showing that it is not always a bad situation.
I have a great relationship with my senior pastor!
Here are a few keys to our success:
1. We communicate often
We talk literally almost every day, and it is rarely a formal meeting. Because we have an open line of communication, when we do have issues to discuss it is not awkward. Two days ago Tom came into my office with a list of “business” things to accomplish, but it went just as smooth and comfortable as all of our conversations–which felt nothing like talking to the principle.
2. We know we are on the same team
We both want the same thing; for our church to be effective and relevant while expanding God’s kingdom in our community. We have a united vision and purpose, but we also understand each other’s roles in fulfilling them. Just like any team, we are stronger together and we know the other will get our back when needed.
3. We are involved in each other’s lives
Our lives interact in many ways outside of our formal ministry context. I know and care about his wife and daughter. He knows and cares about my wife and boys. We have some mutual interests (like sports) and use those to connect. Yes, we are in very different phases of life, but we are still friends outside of church. When I wrecked my dirtbike he was the first person to the hospital, and I would do the same for him.
4. We both are true to our roles
He trusts me completely with the youth ministry. I trust him with running the church and he knows I am not there to take his job someday. Yes he sometimes gives his opinion on something I should do or change. I sometimes give my opinion on something he should do or change. But he lets me run the youth ministry, and I faithfully follow his leadership as he runs the whole church; we have a mutual respect for one another.
5. We have both worked at it
We have been working with each other for over nine years, and there have been times our relationship has not been as good as it is now. There have been times when I have been upset with him, and definitely times when he has been upset with me. But we both had the expectation that our partnership was going to work and not be awkward or fragile. We have both worked at it but it has definitely been worth the effort.
I know and realize how blessed I am to be in the situation I am in. I wish every youth worker felt like their Sr. Pastor was one of their biggest fans. I wish every youth worker felt supported and encouraged. I wish there were more articles and books telling positive stories. My hope and prayer is my experience and situation can help make yours better.