Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of spending time with a number of church staff members in the places where I have been preaching. This is always a great joy for me. More than eighteen years of my life and ministry were spent as a staff member.
Every day I thank God for the lessons I learned working under a faithful pastor and for his patience and investment in my life. Now I find myself repeating so many truths and drawing from the experiences I had through those years.
One day many years ago I sat across the table from one of the men that had come to preach in our church and college. He shared so much counsel with me and worked hard to encourage me that day. At the end of our lunch he said something that I have not forgotten, “Scott, in the will of God there is no such thing as a ‘second man.’ In God’s work you are just as much in His will as the pastor is.”
I have the greatest respect for staff members who come alongside the pastor for one purpose: to help the pastor as he leads the church under God.
Last week the host pastor where I was speaking asked if I would spend a little time with his staff. It gave me the opportunity to share practical advice from my heart with these good men and women. Permit me to share my thoughts with you. I give them with the prayer that they may encourage others to be the best worker possible in the place of God’s choosing.
- Keep your own heart happy in the Lord. Don’t put that pressure on your pastor. Give attention to your daily walk with Christ and guard your spirit.
- Take care of your home. Minister to your wife and children and teach them to love the pastor and the work of the Lord. Do not allow your family to become a burden to the shepherd of the flock – he has enough of those!
- Keep your office or work area clean and neat. Be organized.
- Finish every assignment you are given. My pastor taught us that a job is not finished until you have reported back on it.
- Speak encouraging words to the pastor. Be positive.
- Be kind to the pastor’s wife and children.
- Pray for your pastor, fellow staff, and church family throughout the day.
- Be willing to do anything that will help the pastor and church, even if it is outside your area of “expertise.” Ask the pastor regularly, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Then do what you can with a happy spirit.
- Be loyal. Refuse to be critical. Guard private conversations. If you have a concern, address it at the right time, to the right person, with the right spirit.
- Do not grumble or complain. Work to have a joyful attitude in all of your work.
- Learn your pastor – his likes, dislikes, and preferences. Determine to not be an unnecessary distraction or annoyance to the pastor.
- Come early to church meetings and do not rush out when the meetings conclude. Talk with people! Check with the pastor before leaving to see if there is anything additional you can do to help.
- Make it your primary business to win souls to Christ and bring people into the fellowship of the church.
- Take responsibility for your work and for any failure. Don’t blame others.
- Set an example for all church members. Tithe. Participate. Listen expectantly. Respond to the Word of God. Lead by example.
- Express appreciation to the pastor and church for the privilege of serving. Be a grateful worker.
- Love people but do not try to endear people to yourself. Avoid the appearance of seeking something for you or your family. Remember you are there “not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
- Develop good relationships with other staff members. Resolve conflicts and work as a team.
- Respond well to correction. Keep a teachable spirit. Thank God for those who tell you the truth and anything that keeps you humble.
- Do all of your work as unto Christ alone. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:22-24).
Every Moses needs a Joshua. Every Elijah needs an Elisha. Every Paul needs a Timothy. Every minister needs a minister.
“Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured” (Prov. 27:18).