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The Work of the Associate Pastor

Thomas Whitley

I am regularly thankful for the connections that various forms of social media allow me to make. One such connection is with Alan Rudnick, who is the author of a new book The Work of the Associate Pastor. Rudnick opens with the following story:

While I was an associate pastor, I was asked to give the invocation at the National Football League Players Gala in Washington, DC. During the gala, which was also a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, I was introduced to a variety of National Football League players, politicians, philanthropists, dignitaries, and celebrities. One of the players was gracious enough to allow me to take a picture with him. After I introduced myself as an associate pastor in a local congregation, the professional football player asked, "What does an associate pastor do anyway?"

What follows are multiple answers to that question and guidance for helping churches determine just what they want/need out of an associate pastor. Rudnick includes numerous case studies and discussion questions for churches and for associate pastors that deal with issues ranging from the role of an associate pastor in worship leadership to conflict management. But the appendix is what I think will prove most useful to associate pastors and churches alike. The five appendices are 1) how to plan for an associate pastor, which offers a timeline of what should be done beginning two years before hire down to one month before hire; 2) sample job descriptions, which includes both a full-time and part-time job description; 3) a case study on transitioning from volunteers to paid staff; 4) a short questionnaire helping an associate determine when to stay and when to leave; and 5) a compensation guideline.

As most things are in the book, the appendices are suggestions and rough guidelines, but I can speak from experience that churches often do not know what they really want or what they should be paying someone in a particular position. Likewise, job seekers rarely know how much they should expect to receive and are often left to essentially write their own job descriptions.

I definitely think that Rudnick's book is a welcome resource for churches and associates in all kinds of denominations and am particularly glad to see such a useful, straightforward book that can serve as a guide and resource.

I am posting about Alan's book as part of his "blog tour" highlighting the release of the book and I do genuinely think it is a good resource. Also, you can get in touch with Alan by going to his website or by following him on Twitter, like I do: @alanrud.