The 2nd Man within the church is generally referred to as the Associate or Assistant Pastor. He is often the go to man for most things within the church and is often considered the right arm of the Senior/Lead Pastor. However, there often is a misunderstanding of the 2nd man’s role within the church by both the pastor associate/assistant, and especially the congregation. Having been in pastoral ministry for the past 33 years, I have been the 2nd man in churches with a small congregation of 40 to a larger congregation of over 3000 and assisted the various pastors in a full-time capacity, as well as, part-time and volunteer positions. However, no matter where I have been, the job has been the same: assist the Pastor.
My definition of a 2nd Man is quite simple, “To assist the pastor in accomplishing the mission that the God has called him to do within the Body of Christ in which we both serve together.”
I’m about to make a statement that is going to send some Associate/Assistant, Children’s and Youth Pastor over the cliff. As the 2nd man, you are hired to serve with the pastor, you are not the shepherd. I believe that God only calls one Shepherd for each flock to avoid confusion and chaos. There can be only one direction, one mission, one plan of action, and one leader. As the 2nd Man, you can provide wisdom and support but ultimately, it is the pastor who leads the ministry.
I believe that there are key strategies for both pastor and 2nd man.
1. Support your pastor publicly, disagree with him privately.
It is never appropriate to disagree with him publicly.
2. Discuss your doctrinal disagreement prior to preaching or teaching in the church.
· There has been times that I have worked with a pastor that has a different view of Calvinism than I do or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you’re going to be teaching or preaching, you don’t want you compromise your personal beliefs, so it is better to let him know your feeling or thoughts beforehand. But it is important to find out how the pastor wants you to proceed.
3. Take your concerns to the pastor first, not members of the church. This could also apply to the pastor if he has a concern with the Associate.
· If you have a concern about something the pastor is saying, doing, or something in the church that you’re concerned about, you have an obligation to talk with the pastor first. If it is not resolved and the concern involves ethical, moral, or spiritual issues, take it to denominational leaders or your church board. A word of caution: pray before you do this and be prepared to defend what you say.
4. Be yourself, but not to the point that you over shadow the pastor.
· My personal style is very outgoing while others are more reserved even stoic. Just be cautious that you don’t become the center of attention at the church; always keep the focus on the pastor and most importantly CHRIST.
5. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your own press. Members that are disgruntled with their pastor will often attempt to influence the Associate rather than speak to the pastor; it is a dangerous walk.
· To be blunt, if you need to be the boss and the center of attention and can’t see yourself as an assistant (non-dominant), don’t take the position. But, if you’re ready to be a blessing to Christ, your pastor, and to your congregation, then step into the very rewarding position as an Associate.