Making the shift from "staff" to "pastor"

When is it that a young minister makes the shift from "staff" to "pastor?" Even as I write this, I am convinced that age may have nothing to do with this paradigm shift. You see, a pastor is a shepherd over his flock, while a staff member is a hired hand. I have been around some guys who were getting up in age, but they loved being a hired hand in their churches. They had no desire to become anything more. Up until about 6 months to a year ago, I had always struggled with calling myself a pastor, particularly when I felt like all I used to do was lead music, and sing.

However, over these last 6 months or so, I find I introduce myself as the Worship and Student Pastor, rather than the worship and student director/minister. Sure, these names are similar but each seems to carry a different weight for me. As a minister, I found that I embraced my position as an occupation, and now I see the role as pastor as a lifestyle. At first I thought this shift was just related to my age, and the fact that I was no longer freesh out of college. But I think that there is more to it.

The shift did not occur when I became an ordained minister either... that happened nearly 2 years ago now. That didn't make me change either. No, it was when my Senior Pastor began sharing the weight of the responsibility of the church with me. He gave me opportunities to care for those in need. Care for those that were directly related to my part of this church ministry. That was when I realized that I needed to be a pastor to this church. Just to clarify: I have not been called to be the Senior Pastor. But I have been called to be a pastor who cares deeply for the spiritual well-being of our church, and I absolutely love my role.

Tommy and I have spent a great deal of time working through what a church should look like, what it's community impact should be, and how to achieve some of those goals. The purpose statement for Ridgeview is this: To be a bridge of God's love to all people, so they may experience His purpose for their lives. Somewhere along the way, I honed in on that word "experience." It has become increasingly important for me to facilitate RidgeStudents in a way that students experience what a close relationship with God is like. I desire to interact with our worship team in a way that encourages them to lead the congregation through a worship experience.

You see, I still just lead music, teach some youth classes, and sing. But, through some God experiences of my own over this last year, that I became deeply concerned for the spiritual well-being of the students in our ministry, and for the congregation as a whole. And, I believe it is through experiences like this that lives will be changed for eternity.

Why is it that the team surrounding a Senior Pastor tends to become his staff team rather than his pastoral team? Don't you think it is time that we worship and student ministers make the shift from "staff" to "worship and student pastor?"


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