Knowing Your Role as an Assistant Pastor

We just finished another successful season of Sticky Teams Conferences and we were truly blessed by the speakers, presenters, attendees and immense amounts wisdom that was shared. Each year, we try to offer a variety of leadership training messages in our main sessions from senior pastors located across North America. This year to follow with our theme of “Leading Well” we featured an Associate Pastor as a main session speaker. Sticky Team’s mission is to train, not only Senior Pastors, but all ministry teams, so learning from a pastor who specifically serves a staff team was truly important to us.

Mitch White, Senior Associate Pastor of Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, NC is an amazingly talented pastor, speaker and team leader. His message on what it looks like to lead a staff team in the vision of the Senior Pastor inspired us all to live out our God-given roles and truly lead where God has allowed us to serve.

Here’s a little about Mitch White…Mitch has been at Lake Forest since 1998 and primarily oversees the environments that shape spiritual and leadership development. His heart is to help people intentionally grow in their journey with Christ by creating engaging environments and opportunities. Mitch also crafts and spearheads the strategic planning processes that Lake Forest operates from year to year. On top of this, he walks closely with people in their personal journeys through pastoral counseling and care.

In writing this blog, I cannot do Mitch’s message justice so instead, here are few key quotes from his session and posted at the end of this blog is the full video version to watch.

“I don’t lead from the driver’s seat but I get an opportunity to lead from an assistant and associate position. It’s a beautiful image of what God has called me to do and that’s to hold up the arms of the man who God has appointed to lead our church.”

“It becomes easy for us to blame the team leader because driving is the fun part. Remember when you started driving, you wanted to be the driver. But, I’ve realized that to drive it actually costs more…in gas, time, and wear and tear. You really want to be in the shotgun seat! This seat controls the atmosphere of the car…you control the air, the radio and the conversation with the passengers. The driver doesn’t get to have these interactions. My driver or team leader has to keep his eyes on the road in order to keep moving forward. While my role in the shotgun seat is to keep asking him if he’s ok and to control the entire environment. Hear me on this, associate pastors, assistant team leaders, people on your staff team are going to come and talk to you about their concerns far more often than they would speak with the team leader because the team leader is always looking forward. You, as the assistant have the opportunity to turn around and change the atmosphere and culture of your ministry, your team and ultimately the church.”

“If we don’t’ learn as a team how to be stuck together, we won’t ever learn how to stick together. This is a great opportunity to learn how to be creative and encourage each other. “

“All ministries that are stuck are not always stuck because they’re doing something wrong…a lot of times ministries are stuck because they’re being obedient. “

“If you’re in the role of associate or assistant and you don’t make peace with God’s calling on your life, over and above your wanting for your life, you’re going to walk out of a lot of boats that God’s called you to sail in.”

“Really know what you’re called to do!”

“Team leaders, if you don’t’ give your staff chances to do the spectacular, they’ll never figure out what it means to be faithful and obedient. You have to have a heart for your staff team that says, ‘I’m ok with you doing great things…I’m ok with you walking on water!’”

Get more team training at Sticky Teams 2016 – Exploring Off the Map in San Diego, CA, October 17-18. Register your team today!

 Watch the full Sticky Teams main session here –



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