Getting on the Same Page: Working With Your Pastor

This past Saturday at our quarterly youth ministry training day, I co-presented a workshop with a good friend of mine Monsignor Gregory Smith.  The topic was working with your pastor.

After sharing some insights after going through four different youth ministry coordinators in the past 4 years, Msgr. Smith outlined five key things he learned during this time:

  1. Trust in the Holy Spirit to provide for our needs
  2. Use the networks you have
  3. Look beyond the diocese
  4. Build relationships quickly
  5. Empower people and use the power you have

 

I followed up with two pieces of advice as well:

  1. Communication is key
  2. Clarify expectations

 

With respect to communication, good communication will help to build trust.  As a youth ministry coordinator, it’s vital that you keep your pastor in the loop. It could be via regular face-to-face meetings or periodic written reports.  The important thing is to make the effort even if you feel that it’s not being reciprocated.  Especially when it comes to evaluation: you simply can’t use the excuse of “well I didn’t know that’s what you wanted from me”.  That points to a communication failure; one that you could have avoided.

I firmly believe that having unclear expectations is the biggest source of conflict in ministry, at work, and in family life.  It’s important to clarify expectations regularly with your pastor so you know what he/she wants. After all, you don’t want to waste time and energy working on things that the pastor doesn’t deem important.  Sometimes it may require you to check your ego at the door or to agree to something that you’re not comfortable with.  Often you’ll need to recognize which of your own expectations you’ll need to let go of. After all, you must decrease so that He may increase.