Pastor's Pastor

Pastor's Pastor: How ministerial secretaries help ministers

Pastor's Pastor: How ministerial secretaries help ministers

Some of the services you have a right to expect from your ministerial secretary.

Floyd Bresee is the Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association.

Every time I go to the city library I come away both excited and embarrassed. I am excited over the tremendous services they offer. I am embarrassed over how seldom I use them.

Have you used the services of your ministerial secretary lately? What does he do that really makes any difference to you? Or do you treat him like the library--nice to have around yet seldom utilized?

In 1988 the first advisory in our history held exclusively for division ministerial secretaries was called in Washington, D.C. The General Conference president and division presidents met with us much of the time as we wrestled with the question "What are ministerial secretaries doing--and what should they do?"

It is not the purpose of this column to promote the Ministerial Association. On the other hand, you may find it helpful for me to list some of the services we agree you have a right to expect from your ministerial secretary:

1. A personal visit. The local ministerial secretary should not need to spend great amounts of time in his office. Most materials for his ministers come to him already prepared. Rather than rewriting these, he should be in the field giving spiritual encouragement and training to his ministers.

2. A listening ear. Pastors and pastors' wives too often feel no help is available when they become frustrated in the ministry. You should be able to go to your ministerial secretary and talk freely with out fear that what you say may unjustly jeopardize your future in the ministry.

3. An internship that meets your educational needs. Your ministerial secretary should work with the conference administrators to make certain that your intern ship assignments are designed to train you, not just to fill vacancies in the conference.

4. Training in pastoral evangelism. The ministerial secretary often has a strong evangelistic background. That's good. But when he puts on the ministerial secretary's hat, he becomes primarily a trainer and not just a practitioner of evangelism. His evangelistic goal should not be to see how many he can baptize, but how many he can train his ministers to baptize.

5. A Ministry magazine that keeps you abreast of ministerial issues. Your ministerial secretary is responsible for seeing that you receive a complimentary subscription to Minis try or its local language adaptation. This is the most practical means available for sharing soul-winning ideas and keeping a worldwide ministry together theologically.

6. Assistance in reaching non-Adventist clergy. Not every field can afford the complimentary Ministry subscription given to non-Adventist clergy as recommended in the PREACH program. However, every Adventist pastor should have friends among non-Adventist clergy, and your ministerial secretary should make available some plan to assist you in reaching them.

7. Soul-winning tools to aid you in your ministry. The local pastor cannot keep abreast of all the latest and most effective soul-winning tools. His ministerial secretary must know and share what is avail able through union, division, and miscellaneous sources, as well as through the GC Ministerial Supply Center.

8. Continuing education opportunities. Adventist ministers must stay alive in their profession. You are now expected to average 20 clock hours of continuing education annually. The conference keeps record of your continuing education and reviews it when your license is renewed. If you have gotten be hind, your ministerial secretary has pro grams available to help you catch up.

9. A tape club. Listening to tapes as you travel is one effective way for you to keep your ministry alive without spending extra time. Your ministerial secretary should make this service available through some type of tape club or lending library.

10. A training and support system for your spouse. The ministerial secretary who sees to it that a Shepherdess chapter flourishes in the conference makes a much needed fellowship group available to your spouse. Most wives, though well educated in other areas, have had little training for their role as a pastor's spouse. The ministerial secretary can help provide such training by preparing special programs for them at workers' meetings and making available to them continuing education courses prepared by the General Conference.

Your ministerial secretary cannot do equally well at all of these projects. After all, like you, he's only human. If some of these programs are missing in your conference or mission, perhaps your encouragement will help him get them started.


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Floyd Bresee is the Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association.

October 1988

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