Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) and Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) hold a conversation between pitches in a batting cage in the movie Bull Durham. Annie says, “I looked up your records.”
“You, what?” replies a shocked Crash.
“You hit 220 home runs in the minors. That’s not bad.” Annie continues.
“Don’t tell anybody,” Crash replies.
“Why not?” asks Annie. “If you hit twenty more this year, you’re going to be the all-time minor league champion. The record is 246.”
“Well, 247 home runs in the minor league would be a kind of dubious honor,” Crash replies.
To hit that many homeruns one would have to spend a long time in the minor leagues, which is certainly not the goal of a minor league baseball player. As an associate pastor, I understand where Crash is coming from.
While I have no “records” I have been an associate for a long time. After 5 years in the “show” as a lead pastor, I am currently in my 18th year as an associate. Some might say that is a dubious honor – those who occasionally ask when I am going to become a “real pastor” would certainly see it that way. I don’t. I believe I have been called to this ministry.
As a career staff pastor I have acquired a great deal of experience and understanding of the role. Most of it has been learned the hard way, some ways very hard. I don’t remember any seminary classes offered for the role of associate, nor do I see books about it, or seminars to attend. Instead, I learned by trial and error – and sometimes the errors were costly. AssociatePastor.org is a resource for those who are serving in staff ministry positions for fun, for information, and for support.
I hope you will subscribe and join the conversation. Even if you are only thinking you will be an associate for a short time, maybe as an internship before going to the “big leagues,” I believe this site has much to offer.