I dedicate this last chapter to these people I call, Precious Jewels, Associate Pastors. I had spent more time in ministry being an associate than I have being a set man. Whenever I see associates I kind of feel they stole my spot. For a long time I had spent my time dreaming of playing a supportive role in life. For me I never and still do not consider it a failure being and ending as an associate in a ministry. I believe being a set man is not a promotion but a calling. I was willing to spend my whole life as an associate and to die as one should God permit but God had other plans.
When God called me to be a set man I started looking back at my years of service as an associate Pastor and I saw some mistakes I made. Some temptations the enemy brought to me, some things I wished I could have done better. If doing my work better could have facilitated greater success for the cause of Christ, then I will always want to do it better. This made me develop an unusual interest in the role of associates. This is a mini book, so I can’t spend too much time writing details of all that is in my heart to write to these precious jewels.
All Associates will go through these temptations. What you do with these thoughts determine your success or failure in the role God has called you to.
- THE TEMPTATION OF FOOLISHNESS
You see, every calling in the kingdom is a privileged calling and especially the role of associates. For someone to consider that he wants you to work with him in his lifelong calling knowing fully well that bringing you on board can bring a staggering halt to his ministry, is a huge trust they have committed to you. Whether or not the set man likes it, he is going to at some point choose an associate but what I used to tell myself was “HE DIDNT HAVE TO CHOOSE ME”, it could have been anyone else. If I have a call to be an associate on my life and no one recognizes it, then I may never fulfil it. Three times I have been an associate in 3 different Churches spanning a period of about 8-10 years and it was all a privilege to be in those positions.
Now FOOLISHNESS is when you make a PRIVILEGE become a RIGHT. When the same position you once thanked God for becomes your trouble and source of complaint and nagging. I had to check my thoughts regularly from this assault on my mind to make sure a privilege remains a privilege. There is a posture that reflects privilege and there is an attitude that reflects right.
You see, if there is a position that requires great wisdom to occupy, it is right here–the associate position. When you are given an opportunity to preach, there is a way to act and speak. You need to understand your level of authority, it will help you to know certain things you can’t address except your Pastor gives you express permission to. Follow the protocols for a successful ministry. Babies in ministry say things like “It doesn’t matter, let’s just do it anyhow. God is not particular”. REALLY? The spirit of God may move in a place without form, void and with darkness everywhere but know this assuredly: the creation process will never begin until certain protocols are observed. Such is the story in Genesis 1. Productivity begins with respect for protocols.
- THE TEMPTATION OF “I KNOW BETTER”
This is a very common syndrome in the ministry of associates. Have you found out that even goal keepers feel they know what a striker could have done better to score a goal? Well it’s not just in football, it is so also in ministry. The enemy comes with the mistakes of your Pastor and puts it to you that you are the best thing that happened after sliced bread and that you would have done a better Job than he is doing. I used to say to Satan then, when such thoughts came to my mind, “GOD IS NOT A WASTER OF DESTINIES AND TIME. IF GOD THOUGHT I COULD DO A BETTER JOB WHY DIDNT GOD PUT ME IN THAT POSITION?” If he didn’t put me in the position and I am here then there is probably something I am not seeing that he is.
God doesn’t speak to the neck even though I know the neck is an important help to the head, He speaks to the head. God pointed me to the book of Revelation (chapters 2 and 3). When God had a message for the Churches in Asia, He would say, “To the angels over those Churches.” The word “angel” there in Greek means to the Pastors over the Churches. I remember what The Lord said to me once, “As far as the family of Christ is concerned, you both are sons but as far as the body of Christ is concerned you are different members called to do different things and your judgment and reward will be to the degree of your faithfulness in your role”.
No associate is less of a child of God than his Pastor is as far as the family of Christ is concerned. But as far as the body of Christ is concerned we have been given different assignments. Some, the heads, others the neck, others the hand and some others, the leg etc. according to 1 Corinthians 12:12-24. The beauty of a part is staying where it belongs and performing the duty it was marked out to perform.
You will succeed in Jesus name.
WELCOME TO FREEDOM!