Top 10 Ways to Turn Your Pastor into the Biggest Advocate of Student Ministry: The truth is that very few senior pastors are passionate about student ministry. If they were, they would be student ministry pastors. God has given them a heart and calling to shepherd the entire church, in which student ministry is only a part. If you want them to become a big fan and advocate for student ministry, then it begins with having them become big fan of you. Here are 10 practical ways to build heart strands with your pastor and helps them become a fan of you and student ministry.
5) Don't Forget To Love Them Too: Unchecked, all of us are incredibly self-absorbed people. We think the entire world revolves around us. Our life, our experiences, our job, our joys, and our failures are really significant. While all of these experiences consume our every thought, everyone else around us doesn't spend much time thinking about them. This is mostly because they are consumed with their own story as well. This isn't a good or bad thing, just a thing.
As christians we are invited to remove ourself out of the center of the universe and allow Jesus his rightful place there. Many of us can get our head around that. But what seems to allude most people is that this invitation is not to have a simple duet between you and Jesus. This invitation also allows other people and their stories to matter to you as well. And this truth could never be more important that with the story that consumes your pastor's thoughts.
Lead Pastor's Jobs Are Incredibly Challenging: Being a lead pastor is a lonely calling and one that wars on their emotions, confidence, and ego. When the buck stops with you, you are always offending someone, there are always questions that need to be answered, and you are expected to have not just your own act together, but your entire family's as well. There is a ton that is always on their mind. How much could you improve their quality of life if you saw your self as someone who is committed to loving them and caring for them.
Remember the last time you preached in big church or came back from a big trip that you were in charge of? Afterward you spin and are consumed with the sermon or trip and are dying for feedback. Positive feedback nourishes our soul and negative or even the lack of feedback causes us to spin. This feeling isn't relegated solely to youth workers. Every pastor I know feels this way after every sunday. What a simple way to love your pastor to give them so positive feedback regarding their sermon.
Of course you are such a better preacher than they are, and when you preach the church responds so much better. But as someone who is called to love others, especially your pastor, I am sure you can find a genuine kind comment regarding what they taught and what you can take away from it. And for extra points, ask them before the sermon what they are preaching on. They love processing their thoughts, and will enjoy the easy way to connect.
Get To Know Them As People: We spend our entire jobs winning students. We have an entire arsenal of tricks to connect with just about any type of person with just about any time of passion. We must use all of those tools to get to know our pastors. They are real people with real lives and actually still like to have fun. If you can figure out what they enjoy and do those things with them, you are on track to develop a good friend and colleague in ministry.
The best part is, it doesn't matter if you like it or not. You are invited to love them. And as we remove ourselves from center stage we make room to go along with others in their story. If it is sports, kiss but and follow their team. Even better start following their rivals and let the smack talk fly. If it is reading novels, learn about them, if fishing, start to fish. If they enjoy running, get off your butt and run a little bit. If it is enjoying micro-brews, study up! Just like you do to love your students, read what they read, watch what they watch, ask a ton of questions, and become their friends.
It's On You To Initiate It: I know this isn't the way it is supposed to be, but it is the way it is. I have worked for three different lead pastors and every one of them was completely different. I am proud to say that I have developed a warm friendship with all three. But this friendship was initiated by me.
It seems like it is ministry 101 to gather a team and care for those under your care. But I bet if all your volunteers had an opportunity to vent in some gathering of volunteers, I bet they would all commiserate how little you care for them as individuals and how they feel like parts of the machine. The truth is that we don't do the best job either. And as we mature in Christ and gradually remove ourselves from center stage, the more we can own our own garbage and get over ourselves in our quest to love others.
All that is to say, if you want a friendship with your pastor, you are going to have to initiate it. They have a difficult and lonely job. An opportunity to have a partner and a friend in ministry is usually a welcomed invitation.
Remember, they are old and the manner in which friendship happens and the ways in which they relate will most often be different than what comes naturally to you. Just as you are a cross cultural missionary to your students, in the same way, be a cross cultural missionary to your pastor and love them.
Love them fellow members in the body of Christ, and elder worthy of respect, a colleague in ministry, and as the person who is carrying the weight of your entire church on their shoulders and is in desperate need of a partner to help carry the weight and not someone who just piles it on.
What does your pastor do for fun? Join them this week. If you can't answer that question, you have some work to do. Good Luck!
(I didn't know what picture to use, so I tried to imagined a pastor that we could all identify with and one that could be a challenge for me to goof off with. And Joel, if you are reading this, lets drink some micro-brews together!)