Pastor, Can We Talk?

woman talking to pastor

As the WMU director, a good working relationship with your pastor may be the most important relationship you have in your church. It is vital for your pastor to understand the purpose of WMU and its importance to the work of the church.

You may need to start from the beginning, especially with a younger pastor. A younger pastor may have heard about WMU but may have no tangible understanding of what it is. Ask for an appointment (any day of the week but Sunday) to meet with your pastor to help him gain insight to the inner workings of WMU.

Explain the history of WMU in your church. Help him understand the challenges women face today and how WMU seeks to engage younger women in the church. Ask for his insight, especially if you are an older leader. A younger pastor may be more in touch with the younger generation.

If your pastor is older, he may have become complacent with WMU. Having been in the ministry for decades means he knows what it is all about—or at least what it used to be all about. Spend some time with your pastor bringing him up to date with the challenges of your WMU. Help him understand the changes that your WMU has undergone and the challenges it faces for the future.        

Build trust with your pastor by respecting him. This can be accomplished by

  • not approaching him with an important matter just before he preaches
  • sending him a card of appreciation
  • inviting his wife to WMU events if she is not involved
  • acknowledging his children, especially if they are young or in college
  • inviting him to a luncheon where the main purpose is to pray for him

If your pastor trusts you, you will have a partner in the ministry.

Two-way communication is the goal of a good relationship with your pastor. Clearly communicate with him the needs of your missions groups and listen to him as he responds. Don’t allow an opportunity for assistance to turn into a gripe session. Be open to suggestions and courteous in receiving them, even if you don’t think they are helpful at the time.

Your pastor may be a “big picture” kind of leader who has broad suggestions. This is great if you need general directions but frustrating if you need specific answers right now. Some pastors are micromanagers; that is, they are really good with minutia but don’t have a clear vision for the future. Know what kind of leadership tendencies your pastor has. This will help you understand his approach to answering your questions.

Most pastors realize the importance of WMU, even if they don’t understand everything there is to know about it. Patiently help your pastor in his journey of understanding more about WMU. Above all, love and pray for him.

Rick Boyne serves as a pastor in Wagoner, Oklahoma. He and his wife, Sally, served with the International Mission Board for more than a decade in West Africa and East Asia. Follow him on Twitter @RickBoyne.

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