It seems that every church is looking for the 35-year-old pastor and staff who has 40 years’ experience. 😊
How can we best help a young pastoral staff experience in dealing with the complex issues of local church ministry? And even above that, encouragement, prayer support, the sharing of ministry experiences in the valleys as well as the mountain tops? Who can come along beside the pastor on his very worst day and help him up? Or warn him of the red flags in ministry?
Every pastoral staff needs a “gray-haired” experienced former pastor or full-time church staff member who would be the very person to mentor the pastor and staff in areas of conflict, home life, finances and other crucial areas of ministry.
Experience is not always a teacher of life, but, evaluated experience is very much an asset.
In addition to having been a Sr. Pastor for 40 years I have had the privilege of being an online college Divinity educator for four different Christian Institutions of higher learning the last 13 years. I have instructed dozens of prospective pastors as well as young pastors in my classes. Through their transparent discussions, reflection papers, application papers and worldview papers they have shared their hearts and believe me 90% of them need a helping hand in various areas of local church ministry.
Recently a seminary professor shared with me the crucial need for mentorship of young pastors just out of seminary. He said, “We have done an amazing job teaching them the Bible and how to interpret the Bible but have struggled with helping our young pastoral candidates how to be effective pastor leaders.”
Young pastors need to know how to deal with an ever-increasing load of conflict, their marriage and family relationships, staff relationships, temptations, living out of their identity in Christ, celebrating Sabbath and the myth of sin management.
Someone has well said, “It seems that one is not mature until one no longer cares how they are judged by others; until they no longer feel compelled to put up a facade to the world, until they feel comfortable being their true selves. Our current society is all about false images, false identities…. about ‘brand.’ Our society is based on ego and structured on egoic judgment. I would prefer it if people would quit hiding behinds masks.”
What is the answer? I believe that one of the solutions would be to embrace those gray-haired pastors who have a world of wisdom and evaluated experience to mentor young pastors.
In Proverbs 20:29 (AMP) The glory of young men is their [physical] strength,
And the honor of aged men is their gray head [representing wisdom and experience].
Solomon says, “But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.”
Job 12:12, “Is not wisdom found among the aged?”
Let’s learn from those who have experienced the time, felt the pain, fought the fight and given themselves to growing God’s Kingdom for many years.