Learn about different personality types as it’ll enable better regional pastoring.
Join or form a peer group of Regional Pastors to better share resources, advice, best practices, and mutual support.
Seek accountability for your work as an Regional Pastor with someone—perhaps even at classis.
Be proactive when things that need attention are made known.
Attend classis meetings—even if you’re retired and aren’t required to attend – and keep an ear to the ground for things that need to be followed up on with certain pastors in your care.
Ask your classis to strongly consider allocating funds to cover mileage and meals for Regional Pastors.
Work with your classis to consider developing a “healthy church team” that includes Regional Pastors, Church Visitors and others to help address the many issues that often one or two classical functionaries have to take on alone.
Connect with Pastor Church Resources when dealing with difficult situations. There are resources available that can help!
Connecting and Building Relationships with Pastors
Gather several pastoral couples at the Regional Pastor’s home for a meal and time together. Several Regional Pastors spoke of the relationship building that happens at these type of events.
Meet with a pastor (and spouse) on Saturday and then preach for him/her on Sunday. This can provide a great way to get time with the pastor and then get time with the congregation, all while helping provide the pastor with some much needed time off.
Consider forming a peer group of pastors within the your Regional Pastor region. (Note: you can request a Pastor Peer Learning Grant for this.) Many pastors have found peer groups be life-giving.
Have “face-to-face” visits with pastors who are geographically distant. This can be in- person or via Skype/Google Hangout.
Engage in regular and frequent contact with pastors in challenging situations. Phone calls and coffees can go a long way in helping them feel supported.
Use a personal touch such as a phone call or personal note rather than a mass email to all pastors saying, “I’m here if you need me.”
Ask the pastor if it is ok for you to communicate on his or her behalf with the church’s Church Visitors and possibly even the church council when a pastor is going through a challenging time. Sometimes making others aware of the challenge can lead to a healthy team approach.
Attend the biennial Regional Pastor Conference hosted by Pastor Church Resources . It’s a great opportunity for both training and for collegial support.
Allocating funds to cover mileage and meals expenses for Regional Pastors.
Set up a system for contacting Regional Pastors when potential pastor/church tensions first arise in classical communications or at classis meeting. Early interventions are key to avoiding escalating conflicts.
Educate councils/churches about the differences between the role of a Regional Pastor and role of the Church Visitor. Helpful summaries of both positions can be found here.
Develop a “healthy church team” that includes Regional Pastors, Church Visitors and others to help address the many issues that often one or two classical functionaries have to take on alone.
Do you have a promising practice for Regional Pastors you’d like to share? Email Al Postma.