January 23, 2011 Q & A

What is an Associate Pastor?


What is the relationship between a pastor and an associate pastor? What is the relationship between an associate pastor and presbytery?


Thanks for your question. Our Form of Government (FG) speaks of "Ministers or Teaching Elders" (FG 6) serving as evangelists (FG 7), pastors (FG 8) and teachers (FG 9). No definition as such is given to an office called "associate pastor." This is not to say that a congregation may not have a minister called as an evangelist (to plant a local church) who is designated as "associate pastor" in the calling congregation or one who is called to be a teacher who is designated as "associate pastor."

In any case, however, any minister who serves in a pastoral capacity is called by a local congregation and is a member of presbytery. Only presbytery can approve his call and dissolve the pastoral relationship. Some other Presbyterian churches speak of "assistant pastor," ministers not called by the congregation but hired by the local governing body, the Session. Our FG knows of no such creature. All ministers in local service are called by the congregation and sections like FG 22-24 apply fully to all.



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