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    larryjf's Avatar
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    Difference between Associate and Assistant Pastor?

    What's the difference between an Associate and an Assistant pastor?
    Larry Bray
    Elder - Reformed Presbyterian Church of Boothwyn, PCA
    Boothwyn, PA - http://www.rpcb.org/
    Free Online Reformed Seminary - http://www.tnars.net
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    In the PCA an Associate Pastor is called and voted on by the congregation. An Assistant Pastor is called by the Session and does not have to be voted on by the congregation.
    ~Wayne Wylie~
    Member, Mid Cities Presbyterian Church (OPC)
    Ruling Elder
    http://www.mcopc.org
    Bedford, TX

    Job 28:28 - And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

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    SRoper's Avatar
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    Are both members of the session or only the associate pastor?
    Scott R.
    Deacon (inactive)
    Member of Northwoods Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Cheyenne, WY

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    larryjf's Avatar
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    Would both have the same responsibilities?
    Are there advantages/disadvantages in either?
    Larry Bray
    Elder - Reformed Presbyterian Church of Boothwyn, PCA
    Boothwyn, PA - http://www.rpcb.org/
    Free Online Reformed Seminary - http://www.tnars.net
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Christian ritual costs nothing and is worth nothing. True Christian religion costs all that we have and is worth everything.

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    In the PCA (see BCO 22), the distinction is as follows:
    1) Associate pastors are called by the church as the congregation at large, are brought on staff as regular session members, and assist the primary Teaching Elder.

    2) Assistant pastors are called by the church as the session, they are not members of session and so do not rule the congregation, and they also assist the primary pastor and session.

    Both Associates and Assistants are to be ordained men, and are members of Presbytery. Sometimes churches call men who are appointed to staff positions like "youth pastor" or other, and are called "assistant pastors;" but by the BCO, those are NOT true pastoral relations, because they are not called by the church, examined and approved by Presbytery.

    Temporary relations of pastors to sessions are known as "Stated Supply," usually created in transition periods between solo/sr. pastors at a given church. These men serve similarly to an Assistant, not being on the session, but at the request of the session. They typically moderate session meetings, but do not vote (rule) over the congregation.

    Real world example: myself. I'm an Assistant pastor at my church. As of January (sr. pastor retired) I am now Stated Supply at my church. My relation to this session or congregation has not fundamentally changed, except that I am temporarily the regular preacher and tasked with all the regular pastoral duties of a sr. pastor. And I also moderate the session meetings, but not as a member (as is also the case with most Stated Supply ministers brought in from outside the church).

    When (or possibly before) the new sr. pastor is called, I will step out of the Stated Supply role. In fact, I should be moving on (someplace) to another call, D.V.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryjf View Post
    Would both have the same responsibilities?
    Are there advantages/disadvantages in either?
    Responsibilities vary for either according to the terms of the call accepted.

    Adv/disa. may depend on the needs of the church/pastor/session.

    Assistants don't have to be appealling to the congregation at large (i.e. 51% minimum), which might help a large church bring someone on staff who is going to have a specialized ministry (say, to the elderly). This man will not rule the congregation at large, but the session thinks he should be a TE for the work he is doing.

    An Associate is a position of greater general responsibility than an Associate, because he is a ruling session member. So, in a real sense, the congregation ordinarily has an advantage (hopefully no regrets) in having chosen a certain man.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

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    larryjf's Avatar
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    Thank you Contra_Mundum. That last post of yours really cleared it up for me.
    Larry Bray
    Elder - Reformed Presbyterian Church of Boothwyn, PCA
    Boothwyn, PA - http://www.rpcb.org/
    Free Online Reformed Seminary - http://www.tnars.net
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Christian ritual costs nothing and is worth nothing. True Christian religion costs all that we have and is worth everything.

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    Its interesting the the OPC does not have these positions per their BCO.
    ~Wayne Wylie~
    Member, Mid Cities Presbyterian Church (OPC)
    Ruling Elder
    http://www.mcopc.org
    Bedford, TX

    Job 28:28 - And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

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    beej6 is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    The OPC classifies their TEs as either evangelists, pastors, or teachers; I suppose an 'evangelist' could be closest to an associate pastor, though I know at least one OP congregation had a teacher assisting the pastor, and several OPCs have 'associate' pastors who are simply pastors with the junior title. I don't think there's an OP equivalent to an assistant pastor.

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsw201 View Post
    Its interesting the the OPC does not have these positions per their BCO.
    The OPC does have Associate Pastors, and there is reference in their BCO to them, but not in those early chapters that define the officers in the church. Check out the "Pastoral Relations" chapter.

    The OPC Teacher and Evangelist, as well as the Pastor, are all functional exercises of one office, the Minister's.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

    When posting friends, kindly bear those words of earthly wisdom in mind:

    Oh, that God the gift would give us
    To see ourselves as others see us.
    --Robert Burns, 1786 (modernized) ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions? -- Sermons

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    beej6 is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    Bruce, can I just send my posts to you directly to correct before I post them?

    I must be blind, I don't see a "Pastoral Relations" chapter in my BCO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Both Associates and Assistants are to be ordained men, and are members of Presbytery. Sometimes churches call men who are appointed to staff positions like "youth pastor" or other, and are called "assistant pastors;" but by the BCO, those are NOT true pastoral relations, because they are not called by the church, examined and approved by Presbytery.
    Bruce,

    Just to clarify, assistant pastors are not called by the congregation, but they are examined and approved by Presbytery, just as other grades of pastors.
    Tom Albrecht
    Zeltenreich URCNA, New Holland, PA.

    "When I find the time, I'm going to sit down and write the social history of bourbon."

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    Tom, thank you; taken altogether, I think I was fairly clear.

    I meant to explain the failure of some churches to speak accurately.

    And I am an Assistant Pastor, and have been examined and ordained by Presbytery, a living example of "things done decently and in order."

    Blessings.



    Beej, woooah now...
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

    When posting friends, kindly bear those words of earthly wisdom in mind:

    Oh, that God the gift would give us
    To see ourselves as others see us.
    --Robert Burns, 1786 (modernized) ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions? -- Sermons

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