Since my last post was a shot in the arm for youth workers, I thought it only fair to return the favor for senior pastors. Theirs’ is a tough job and made tougher by the challenges of a small church setting. Many joys and plusses, yes – but the trials are escalated in a smaller setting. The voices of church politics or that four-generation family (“We’ve been attending this church since it was built in 1894!”) are louder in a smaller setting and harder to tune out.
So here’s a list to keep in mind, youth worker, to make your pastor’s job easier:
1) Be aware of the politics: I’m not saying you have to kowtow to the situation but don’t make it all harder by stepping on egg shells or toes every where you go.
2) CC your pastor on all youth ministry email: Unless he/she hates this idea, its a good way to keep them in the loop and you accountable for everything you say and plan. All the pastor has to do is drag it to a folder and read when necessary. Even I do this with my Ministry Architects emails: I cc my supervisor and ministry buddy, Jeff Dunn-Rankin, on everything. Gives me pause about what I write since I know he’ll eventually read it. Plus, he gives me great coaching and feedback.
3) Your youth ministry lima beans are not the only yucky vegetable on the pastor’s plate: Remember that a pastor in a small church is juggling several jobs which are often shared by multiple people in a larger church setting. She/he is often the pastor, chaplain, janitor, admin, media tech, etc. So patience on your part is a virtue. (I hate lima beans!)
4) Never let your SP be surprised by a problem: Your first phone call at even a hint of a problem is to the SP. That way, they’ll be there to support and advise. Its when you wait to inform them of an issue that will get you in the most trouble. Don’t ask me how I know this; let’s just leave it at a lesson well-learned!
5) Give them the grace you need: Remember that they’re human, they don’t know it all, some of this youth stuff is new to them also…and they’re still feeling their way along in your working relationship.
6) Oh, and just like you want space after a trip, retreat, or vacay? They need the same space. Let them have their turn basking in the glow. Give them a week or so on non-crazy issues and at least 48 hours for the nutty stuff.
Senior pastors out there: any you would like to add?