An encounter with a man experiencing homelessness reminded me that the only way to “win” is to be the church.
Being an associate is like walking a tightrope. Well, I’ve never actually walked a tightrope. I’m afraid of heights. So I guess I’m saying that being an associate is like what I imagine it would be like to walk a tightrope. Or maybe it is more like a Johnny Cash song. Either way you have to walk the line.
The line we associates walk is the fine one between overstepping and paralysis, between competing with the lead pastor and waiting for her/his blessing before doing anything, between being a help and being a burden, between owning your ministry and disregarding the rest of the ministry of the congregation. Lean too far either way and you are headed for a crash.
“The only person you have the power to change is you.” You have probably heard this more times than you care to count. I tell my children it is “Dad’s Secret to Life” (please don’t tell them I didn’t come up with it). Our recognition of this truth helps guide our relationships with our spouses, our children, and even the members of the congregations we serve. But I have met many associate pastors who have a great deal of trouble applying it in their relationship with their lead pastor.
- Can you believe he asked me to…?
- Do you know that she expects me to…?
- Doesn’t she understand that is not in my job description, and doesn’t fall in the “at the discretion of the lead pastor” clause (oh, I will have to write a blog about that gem soon)?
- Doesn’t he understand I’m not here to serve him?