How about a little more tension in the second chair? Clayton asked me to stick my thoughts out there about the relationship to the first chair and the tension of my boss being my pastor, and my pastor being my boss. More than that, what happens when he is my friend, too?
First, I want to be friends. I am so relational, that friendship is the basis for a good working relationship. So, I work at sharing stories, asking him how he is doing, and making sure that we can enjoy a meal together and talk about how we were shocked that Peyton Manning and his colts lost to the Steelers. But, we don't hang out when we are away from the office.
As pastor, he and his wife have been there for the birth of my two kids, welcomed me to my new home with a plant, celebrated my graduation from seminary with a surprise party, and have visited my wife in the hospital when she had foot surgery. I have been able to share my burdens with him, my failures, and have even wept with him. All of this over eight and a half years.
As boss, wow, he has kicked my butt a time or two! We have had our disagreements, heated discussions, and he has called me on the carpet when I have been insubordinate. We don't always see ministry the same, as he and I are from two different generations. Also, he has given me substantial raises, given me substantial promotions from youth pastor to associate pastor, and has given me the opportunity to co-preach/teach with him every week, as we rotate between our two campuses.
Barry Landrum is a good friend, good boss, and a great pastor. He doesn't always listen to me, doesn't understand some of my ideas, and we frustrate each other at times.
I guess the question is how do I seperate it all or keep it all together with him as my friend, my pastor, and my boss? I hope these concluding thoughts help! I would also love to hear your thoughts on the matter of you and your pastor/boss/friend.
Initially and for the longest time, he was boss! This was our first relationship and it is the easiest relationship to carry out, as I am the follower and he is the leader. In this relationship, he says jump, and I say, how high? If this is where you stay with your first chair, you are in trouble. A BIG key to your success is this relationship and I think it is best when you can work your way through this part of the boss/pastor/friend tension. I say this because if all he or she is is a boss, and all you are is an employee, you are held at arms length. If this is where you sit, you will find yourself frustrated because you won't be able to impact the organization as a whole. Remember the definition of a second chair leader? Someone in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value to the entire organization. At arms length, you can't add value to him or her and thus you will find it hard to add value to the entire organization.
As relational and opionated as I am, I pushed the friendship thing. He received it as well, and I believe that when he saw potential in me and a desire to work hard, he pushed the friendship thing too. We have fun discussing theology, how he feels about John Piper today, how he will feel about Piper tomorrow, and sharing stories about life and things we find funny. We chase rabbits and joke a lot as a team. This keeps things light, especially when the intensity turns up. I like bringing levity and a little sarcasm to the table when it will lighten things up just a touch.
Through our time together and my life experiences, he has become a great pastor to me and my family. We like his preaching ministry as well. He has done this part of it. He has cared enough about Julee and me that he has come to the hospital to visit us and pray with us. He treats us like anyone else in the congregation, as this is a tremendous strength of my pastor. I too have returned the favor, checking on him when he has had a procedure or two, calling him the night before for prayer, etc.
But I think the best thing that I can say is that I don't seperate these roles and look for weaknesses in how he has or hasn't been my friend, boss, or pastor. I could easily pick him apart for any of these if I wanted to. He could do the same and question my motives if he were insecure or perceived me as a threat.
He is boss/pastor/friend all of the time, and like a smooth luxury car, we are able to shift in and out of these different gears with ease and comfort. This is how it should be and I am grateful to say that it is what I get to experience most of the time.
Yet, I am no fool. This is a relationship, and every relationship is a two way street. So, I must do my part, and I am very proactive about my part, because I have been called to serve him. Servants don't stand around waiting to be told what to do. If you do, I wouldn't call you a servant as much as I would a responder. Servants initiate, anticipate, and seek to assist. So, in my relationship, I anticipate, initiate, and assist as an employee, congregant, and friend. In doing so, I have found it well received and appreciated.
Again, please let me remind you, this takes time. I have been where I am for almost nine years with the same first chair. That is a long time to meet, discuss, listen, and respond. Take your time. Don't be overly critical, and do your part of the relationship to ensure growth.