Jesus said that whoever wants to be first must be a slave. To me, a slave is someone who helps others succeed.
As a pastor, I am a slave to our Shepherds and their spouses. My goal in ministry is to help them receive more rewards than me when we go to heaven. When I correct or scold them, it’s because I want them to succeed in their ministries and in life.
As President of House Church Ministries, International, I am a slave to other house church pastors. So I have made it my goal to help them succeed in converting their traditional churches to house churches. When I see pastors with leadership qualities, I give them opportunities to exercise their leadership and gain visibility among their fellow pastors.
As Senior Pastor of Seoul Baptist, my ministry goal is to help our staff members succeed in their respective ministries. They don’t have the traditional title of Assistant Pastor, because that gives the impression that they are merely helping the Senior Pastor. Instead, they have titles that describe their ministries, such as Education Minister, Youth Group Pastor, or Children’s Pastor.
Pastor Soo-Kwan Lee’s official title is Assistant Pastor. But this title does not accurately reflect what he does. He takes over my responsibilities when I travel, but he has his own ministry duties as well: he teaches the New Life Bible class, presides over wedding ceremonies and funerals, supervises church-wide events, and oversees all house churches for singles. He also represents our church at denominational and associational meetings. In fact, he currently serves as a board member for the Texas Southern Baptist Convention, the largest in the country.
It does not seems right to call someone an Assistant Pastor when he has all these responsibilities. So from this point forward, Pastor Lee’s official title will be Co-Pastor.
I wanted to give him this title when he was ordained, but some people were resistant to it, probably because they were not familiar with the term. But I have introduced him as a Co-Pastor to other pastors for some time. The reason he has been able to represent our church at various meetings and associations is because other pastors have accepted him as my equal.
A Co-Pastor is equal to me in ministry, but in terms of administration, he is just like any other Assistant Pastor in a traditional church. He is under my authority, so I decide the areas where he ministers. He must receive my instructions and report to me. I can even ask him to leave if it becomes necessary. This may sound harsh, but unless one person is in charge of the entire church, confusion and conflicts may ensue.
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