CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

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.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2020 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries


Inter-Church Relations

Ministerial Care

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions


Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews



Presbyterian Guardian