If you are an involvement minister (or any type of minister other than a pulpit minister) your best support should come from the person in the pulpit. What do I mean by that?
In spite of all that we teach (in churches of Christ) about the preacher not being the pastor and the preacher not being “the” leader of the church, he welds great influence. He has great influence because he does in fact ‘pastor’ the flock by teaching, and preaching, he visits the sick, buries the dead, performs weddings, attends all the church functions, does counseling, he usually knows everyone by name, and generally speaking, he is ‘everywhere.’ And, he also commands the pulpit. He, in spite of what we say about preachers not being pastors, is (in most cases) the spokesman for the local church. He represents the leadership at large and what he says really means something. When he says it, it’s serious business. No pun intended, but when he says it, “it’s gospel.” When you or I make a two minute announcement, it doesn’t have the same effect.
How does this relate to other ministers in the local church? You, as a youth minister, senior minister, college minister, involvement minister or whatever kind of minister, if you don’t get his support in and out of the pulpit, you have a hard row to hoe or worse.
When you have his support, life is good and your ministry is blessed.
Usually (with or without the pulpit minister’s support) you will have to write articles for the church bulletin, create attractive power point slides, use the church mail, use the church phone tree, talk to individuals, make phone calls, use facebook, use the church group email and hey, you may even get to make a 2 minute announcement from the pulpit, but nothing is as powerful as the pulpit minister saying something about you, your ministry, what you’re trying to accomplish or encouraging people to support your ministry. Nothing! I am NOT saying that your ministry is totally dependent upon the man in the pulpit. I AM saying that he can be your best ally and your ministry will benefit greatly.
But there is something even more important that the pulpit man can do: he can preach lessons that support and teach what needs to be taught. Here’s an example: two years ago our 2014 congregation focus was ‘Down on the Farm’ Jesus’ Plentiful Harvest. I asked our preacher to preach a full year on this theme. And, he did! He spoke on the four ways we bear fruit for the Lord. We had banners and projects for the members to do as a way of bearing fruit. He totally supported this by his preaching and announcements. It was wonderful and the response of the congregation was 100% involvement. I’ve done other campaigns without such support and things went did ok but we would have done better if we had used the pulpit in a better manner.
If you are an involvement minister your best ally is the guy in the pulpit. Ask him to make short announcements for you about ministry. Ask him to preach sermon series on relevant topics to your ministry. Be bold and ask him to preach for a full year on a theme that will motivate your members to move from the pew to the place of service. Avoid being presumptuous and overbearing.
And you must also support him. As much as we may deny it, you are second fiddle. Some of us in such positions get a little jealous of the pulpit. You need to realize that your preacher did not design it this way. It’s just a fact of your church’s life. Accept your position gladly and prayerfully. In some sense, you are a John the Baptist. You are like the folks that Paul mentions in Colossians 4 who supported his evangelistic work. He could not do what he did without them. You are part of a team that will only succeed when unity, harmony and support are mutual goals. There is no room for jealousy or competition in the Lord’s church. There is however, lots of room for cooperation and submission and verbal/written support. This is the Christian thing to do for both you and the pulpit minister.
Use every tool at your disposal to promote your ministry and kindly ask your preacher for his support in and out of the pulpit. Any preacher worth his salt will do this—because he is first and foremost a servant, second he is spiritual and third, he is concerned about the overall growth and welfare of the church.
Note: I love and appreciate pulpit ministers for at least two reasons: my dad was a pulpit minister and second, I was a located full time pulpit minister for over 30 years. I worked with and supported our involvement minister and several youth ministers during those years. I have found that pulpit ministers consider themselves as stewards of their ministry and the pulpit. They are almost always more interested in the welfare of the local church than getting their way. I also know that preachers are, in some very real sense, limited in how much time they have to present lessons and make announcements. As associate ministers we must keep this in mind when we ask them to verbally promote our ministry from the pulpit. My good friend Jerrie Barber states that good relationships are what is needed in churches for things to go well. I believe Church staff must have a good working relationship and that is priceless. In fact, they should be friends as well.
Travis Irwin, Athens, TN