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The Work of the Associate Pastor

Editorial Reviews:

“Rudnick helps both churches and clergy gain a better grasp of what the other should seek. Whether the handy questionares and charts, or the graphs of triangulation, this concise, though insightful, book helps all gain a better understanding of where we might find ourselves throughout discernment.” —Crazy Liberals and Conservatives

“I definitely think that Rudnick’s book is a welcome resource for churches and associates in all kinds of denominations and am particularly glad to see such a useful, straightforward book that can serve as a guide and resource.”–from Thomas Whitley Blog. Read the entire blog review here.

“The strongest part of The Work of the Associate Pastor is PART THREE where Alan discusses the challenges and opportunities of the associate pastor.  He talks about what makes it risky and what makes it rewarding. In this section, he writes with great conviction and provides wisdom for those considering being an associate … or quit being one due to discouragement. The book isn’t large and it’s not trying to be something other than a helpful practical guide to those in associate roles, churches considering associates, and considering how to make the most of being an associate.”—from In This Corner of the World. Read the complete review here.

“The Work of the Associate Pastor is a significant contribution to the ministry of the church.It assists in filling a need for more guidance on how congregations can better support associate pastors. For the church leaders willing to heed its advice, I believe it will prove to be a helpful manual that allows them to address many preventable problems. Most importantly, it will give the body of Christ a clearer vision of how important the associate pastor role is to the future of the church. Rudnick succeeds in making a convincing argument that the vitality of the church is intertwined with how it supports the ministry of associate pastors.”— from Ministry Matters blog. Read the entire review here.

After spending several years in staff and associate pastor ministry, I found it almost impossible to find a resource that taught:

  • associate/staff ministry in a positive light
  • employed family systems theory
  • honored the senior pastor while giving the staff freedom
  • balanced ministry demands and a personal life
  • empowered staff ministry individuals to do their best
  • didn’t take a crazy oppressive subordinate view of leadership

I was frustrated that a practical and thoughtful book was absent in the market on associate pastor/minister ministry, so I wrote it.

“The Work of the Associate Pastor” is the sum totally of my years in ministry, witnessing the best and worst of associates (and senior pastors), and interviewing other associate pastors on their successes and failures.  This year, you will be able to read a book that:

  • gives guidance to senior pastors to lead associates and staff well
  • gives guidance to church leadership in order to support associates
  • encourages associates in their ministry
  • empowers churches to find creative ways to create associate positions in their churches
  • creates guided discussion for your church or leadership team about staff and associate ministry
  • equips associates to excel in their ministry

Look for “The Work of the Associate Pastor” this year from Judson Press.


From Judson Press:

A new vocational volume in the best-selling “Work of the Church” series!

Having spent more than ten years in pastoral staff ministry, Alan R. Rudnick brings a wealth of research and experience to the often undervalued ministry of the associate pastor. Inviting readers to understand associate ministry as more than training ground for a senior pastorate, Rudnick explores the diverse roles and responsibilities that fall under the associate umbrella. From life-stage ministries with children and youth, singles and seniors, to specialized ministry areas such as music, education, pastoral care, and counseling, this volume acknowledges the challenges and opportunities offered to associate pastors in their distinctive ministries. The book’s appendix offers practical resources for churches:

  • How to plan for an associate
  • Sample job descriptions
  • Compensation guidelines

Associate ministers also will find a personal assessment, helpful in discerning when to stay and when to leave their associate position. Overall, this is an ideal resource for graduating seminarians seeking associate opportunities, as well as church leaders looking to establish an associate position.