Episode 5: Excelling As An Assistant Pastor

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Over the past four years that I have been in Jacksonville, I have had the privilege of getting to know and partner with local ministries. One of those churches that have been instrumental in partnership is Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church pastored by H.B. Charles Jr, who has quickly become a fast friend of mine.

Pastor Charles invited me to contribute to the Cutting It Straight Conference strategy meeting earlier this year, where I met Joel Cowart. Brother Joel is the Christian Education Pastor at Shiloh and has a tremendous spirit. He is just an all around cool dude. Joel was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about being an assistant pastor in a substantially sized ministry, which provided great insight that I want to share with you. Below are the notes from our conversation:

How do you excel at being an Assistant Pastor?

  1. It is critical to have a good relationship with the pastor.

  2. “Catching the Vision" is significant.

  3. Hiring an unknown ministry worker is a risk, staff is best mentored by pastor before being placed in full time Christian service.

  4. Assistant pastors should be an extension of the ministry of the Senior Pastor.

Key Elements of Being an Effective Assistant

  1. Catching the vision and operating under the authority of the senior leader.

  2. Trust God in your position - “If God can be patient enough not to knock out man for his sin, you can be patient enough to wait on being a senior leader”.

  3. Serving your Pastor - not being an “amour bearer” but taking principal from Leviticus 19:32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Make your Pastor look good by getting him “Easy Wins”.

  4. Lead Yourself - get your own tasks accomplished and don’t wait to be told what to do. “Find yourself faithful”.

Books referenced in this discussion:

How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge by Clay Scroggins

Fulfill Your Student Ministry by Samuel L Bierig (Various Contributors)

How to contact Joel Cowart:




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