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church staff relationships
4 Easy Ways to Build Rapport with Your Senior Pastor #LeadingUp

As a part of YouthMin’s Leading Up series this month, I feel that one of the most important things that you can do to get your supervisor/senior pastor to be willing to learn from you, and in turn, be “led” by you, is to create a great rapport.

Show them your life.

Invite them over to your house for dinner with your crazy family, or invite your family over to their house!  Share life together, and talk about things other than church.  Use your personal hobbies to bless them–can you grill a mean steak or knit a mean sweater? Bless them!  Show them that you have a personality.

When I secured my current position, my supervisor told me that she fell in love with my personality during the interview and knew she had to have me on her team.  Did I have decent credentials? Sure, but what makes us a good team is that we actually like each other.  We talk about our families, our problems, and our successes and celebrate them together.

Find shared ground.

Oh, you like baseball? love baseball! BAM we’re at a baseball game, drinking 7-dollar Cokes, and cheering on our team. And next week in the office, we will reminisce of how that crazy Cubs fan dumped their beer on us in an angry rage because the Cardinals are the bomb.com.

Memories, people.  Make them!  You don’t like baseball?  Then find things to “geek out” over together–other sports, television shows, exercise, your Molkeskine journals, those hipster shoes, and favorite exegetical techniques.

Invest in their children.

(Joshua Fuentes will talk more about this soon!)

When I ask my supervisor how her son’s football season is going, and even commit to going to a game, it helps our relationship.  I loved mentoring the high school girl of my senior pastor at my last church, and that really did add to the relationship I had with her father.   I even considered dating the adult son of another one of my senior pastors…just kidding.

Be mentored by them or their spouse.

Bonus: You and your spouse are mentored by them and their spouse.  As I said before in 3 other ways, invest in each other.  I am fully convinced that vulnerably and intentionally investing is the only way to build rapport with your supervisor.

 

What happens when you build good rapport with your supervisor/senior pastor?

The most beautiful thing that will ever happen in ministry:  They will have your back.  They will understand your heart and where you are coming from in ministry.  At my first director position in a church, I came to my senior pastor with a pretty big change in mind.  Because we were invested in each other (common ground: I love to learn and he loves to teach. BAM!), he had my back 100%, even when a few others didn’t.

If you are currently in a position where the relationship is flawed, I don’t think that relationship is permanently doomed.  Try to understand them by investing in them… take out your selfish motives and consider that maybe you aren’t the only person who doesn’t feel like your back is covered.

 

What do you guys think? How do you build rapport with your supervisor/senior pastor?

4 Comments
  1. Great post heather. I think that pastoring their kids is a huge deal. Hangout with them, take them for breakfast, and most importantly disciple them!

    I do think there is a lie out there that you have to be best friends with your lead pastor. That will not always be the case. Having a working relationship with your senior/lead pastor is a must.

    • HeatherLeaCampbell

      TRUEEE. I don’t want this post to sound like “Be BFFs with your Supervisor. It’s easy! If you’re not, boo you.” It has to be a “working relationship” as you said.

  2. Great post Heather. So many YMs are content to just complain about their SP and not actually invest / put in the work to connect and build a relationship. Good reminder.

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