What Does an Associate Pastor Do?

“What do you do?” This question was posed to me by a teenager at Harvest last week. I had hired 2 students to help me move some things from my house to the dump in Lincoln, and while we were driving one of them asked me what my job was. When I told him I worked full time at Harvest as the Associate Pastor, he looked a little confused and then asked (politely), “What do you do?” The question kind of caught me off guard and I spent about 60 seconds stammering out the list of things I’m involved in, what sorts of ministry comes under my responsibility, and so on.

This laughable incident got me thinking… I bet lots of people don’t know what I do as an Associate Pastor. That title exists at many churches, and I can very confidently say the responsibilities of that title vary wildly from church to church. So, what do I do as the Associate Pastor at Harvest? I wrote a long list of particular things I either lead, am involved with, or have responsibilities to manage. Rather than list them all, here are 7 broad things I do as an Associate pastor…

Lead or help lead 3 specific ministries

Small Groups, men’s ministry, and youth ministry are areas that I either directly lead or help with other volunteer leaders to oversee. We have 10 small groups (with 3 more being added soon!), and Daron Anderson and Steve Garcia are our “Small Group Coaches” who are huge helps to love and train our SG leaders. Our men’s ministry has several events every year (mens’ retreat is October 30-31!) as well as 2 weekly men’s Bible studies, and Chris Pistone and John Calton have become big helps in this ministry. Phil Beardslee and Brad Dawson have been pouring themselves into the youth ministry for over a year, and I do my best to help them in several strategic ways.

Preach about 6-9x per year

I love to preach and believe God has called me and gifted me to do so. To be given several opportunities each year is a tremendous blessing that I take seriously. Pastor Scott has been called as our Lead Pastor to be the primary teacher of God’s Word, and it’s my privilege to join him in this task as needed.

Be the “projects” guy

There’s always something in the queue at Harvest – some new ministry adventure, new goal to achieve, or new opportunity to plan for. Every couple of months I’m finishing one project and beginning another. In the past year, these products have included the church app (download it!), organizing the 40 Days of Prayer, worship guide changes, writing our employee manual, and setting up our 403(b) retirement plan for our employees.

Strategic planning with Pastor Scott

Many people can say this about the job they have, but “There’s always something” is very true here at Harvest. There’s always something to be improved upon, planned for, ideas to kick around, people to minister to, leaders to train, and so on. It’s a joy to be able to shoulder the pastoral duties with Scott. Every week we meet for a strategy meeting, as well as to take time to pray for our church together. From these meetings come various tasks to complete and people to reach out to.

Facilitate and lead staff meetings

Our staff meetings are on Wednesday mornings, and we spend 2 hours discussing every topic under the sun related to Harvest. I’m tasked with arranging the meeting agenda… and doing everything I can to keep us on track so we get through all we need to.
Oversee church finances

This includes many things: creating processes for reporting and recording the offering, writing almost all the checks (reimbursements and bills), inputting our financials into Quick Books with the help of Julie Stodghill (one of our resident CPA’s), setting up our online giving, and assisting in setting budget and tracking expenses.
Pastoral “stuff”

If that sounds generic, that’s because it is. Any pastor will tell you there’s a part of the job that is hard to define but takes a great deal of time, energy, prayer and flat out hard work. This may include tough conversations with people, or just taking responsibility for something that isn’t usually on your plate. Meetings pop up, there are people in need of help and love, and there’s truly always something to work on.
I love my job. To see how God orchestrated my steps to get me to this place at Harvest Bible Chapel is something I regularly praise him for. To work alongside the great people who make up our staff and volunteer leaders is a tremendous blessing. To be able serve God in this role, and to watch what HE is doing in and through our church body, is humbling and fills my heart with joy. It’s hard to believe it hasn’t quite been 1 year that I’ve been on staff at Harvest. You should know that I pray for many, many more years at this church, glorifying God by making disciples.