The Associate Should Help – Supporting the Service

I attended a worship service where an associate minister was given an assignment. However, instead of attempting to support the worship service, the associate attempted to shine the light on himself while he “preached.”

The Role of the Associate

I have seen it many times before. The associate might be called to read the morning scripture or perhaps to announce the hymn. Instead of following proper protocol, the associate might add some remarks about his week and how God got him through. Maybe the associate starts talking about how God spoke to him last night about overcoming. Then a 1 minute scripture reading becomes 4 or 5 minutes. Sometimes the story is relevant to the theme of the service, but most of the time it is not.

Often this problem is due to a lack of training. It is hard to blame associates when their only way of learning how to support a service comes from looking at other associates (and perhaps the senior pastor) drone on and on about irrelevant issues in services. This kind of problem can easily be resolved by providing training as some of the better senior pastors provide.

The associate must fully realize that the associate’s role is not to add another sermon to the service, but to support the service. The best associates realize that you should follow directions unless there is a really compelling reason to break protocol.

Associates support the service by knowing the theme of the service. What are the hymns and gospel songs that are sung? What are the scriptures that were chosen by the worship leaders? What is the sermon title? The answer to these questions will help to guide any observations or additions that the associate might feel led to tack on to the assignment.

But please remember, if you have not been assigned the morning sermon, do not take it upon yourself to add one. Associate ministers adding sermons to their part adds a lot of time to the service. If you have 3 or 4 associate “additions” you add 15 to 25 minutes to the service before the preacher even gets up. And if these associates additions are not relevant to the theme of the service, then it works against the worship planners hard work.

When it is your turn to give the Word, how would you feel if the 3 or 4 other associates had added 25 minutes of distracting additions to the service? Get up, do your assignment, and sit down!

Know Your Role

Keep in mind that associates are used as they support the preacher and the service. Associates who sacrifice the service to gratify their own desire to preach out of season will ultimately limit their future possibilities as worship leaders and pastors begin to limit their use in the service. No, do what God has assigned you in this service and sit down. When God has chosen you to read the scripture. Read it with power and with meaning. If you have to make some comments, limit them and make them relevant to the theme of the service.

You will get your turn to preach, your turn will come, and when it does, you will hope that the other associates will not detract from the Word that God has given you to preach.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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