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The relationships we have in ministry will inspire, challenge, shape and even hurt us. Some of those relationships we think will last forever while others will just be a moment in time. I’ve decided to write a series of posts that talk about the most important relationships we have in ministry. Today I want to talk to you about the pastor because it’s the most important one you have inside of your church, so how’s it going? How’s the relationship you have with your pastor?
Are you both on good terms? Are you buddy buddy or do you avoid one another at all costs? No matter how difficult the relationship is between you and your pastor it needs to be healthy or else you both will really struggle in ministry. If you and that pastor aren’t clicking it will be extremely difficult for you to lead a youth ministry and take on the day to day challenges. So what does a healthy relationship between you and the pastor look like? There needs to be:
- Public Praise And Support: You might want to bash your pastor publicly because he has made you upset. He’s ruining your job and you just can’t work with him. All that will do is cause frustration and send you down a path of burn out. While your pastor should publicly support you, you need to do the same. If he isn’t doing it, do it first, set the precedent and he will see that you are trustworthy and loyal. If you do disagree with how he is leading seek some one you trust to hear you out and hold you accountable to bring it to your pastor. The more you can hold each other up in public the more trust you will build between the two of you.
- Recognizing Each Other’s Humanity: He’s your pastor but he is also human. There are times when you will want to hold him to the highest expectations; however, that might just be setting him up to fail. You should expect more from him because of his leadership position, you just can’t expect him to be perfect. A great pastor is someone who will accept your mishaps and failures. As youth pastors we need to do the same by honoring their leadership even when they fail.
- Open And Honest Communication: When you mess up or make mistakes the tendency is to hide it from the pastor. Maybe it’s because of the reaction he gave last time; however, there is no excuse to lie or mislead. If you want your pastor to be honest with you when he messes up then he has to be able to expect the same. Clear and open communication is key to a successful relationship and that includes being brutally honest at times.
- Respect For Each Other’s Differences: As a youth minister in a Catholic church the life that I live is very different from my pastor’s (I’m married with a kid, he’s not). Because of this difference there can be challenges in how we communicate. Maybe you are in a different denomination; however, my bet is that most of you are very different from your pastor. Maybe your all business and he’s all play. You might have a knack for technology while he doesn’t own a television. Embrace those differences and don’t be afraid to let him into your world while getting to know his. It will create compassion and understanding especially when times are tense.
I’m not sure where you are in the relationship with your pastor; however, I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced times of pressure, tension and frustration. And that can be normal. A healthy relationship isn’t always daisies and rainbows, there will be blood, sweat and tears. To form a healthy relationship it takes both parties to lean in, serve and love one another. When you can show leadership respect by serving up, you not only set a good example but you honor the person God has put in leadership ahead of you.
If you are in a situation where you and your pastor just don’t work well together you might need to make the hard decision of staying or going. In this case seek accountability and guidance from an objective and trusted source.