We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does an Associate Pastor Do?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PracticalAdultInsights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An associate pastor is a member of the clergy who assists the pastor or priest with serving the needs of the congregation. The term pastor is typically used to describe clergymen who belong to Christian communities rather than religious leaders of other faiths. Associate pastor responsibilities depend in part upon the size of the parish; in some instances an associate may serve more than one religious community.

In many protestant communities, registered members of the parish or the parish council have the responsibility for appoint a church pastor. The pastor leads church services, conducts baptisms, wedding services and funerals and also administers to the sick. In some branches of Protestantism, associate pastors are chosen by the elected pastor rather than by the members of the parish. The pastor may appoint a full time or part time associate and the associate's wages or expenses are paid for with parish funds.

Typically, associate pastors are ordained ministers which means that they have undergone some kind of formal religious instruction at a denomination specific seminary or at college or university. The length of the training varies between Christian groups but in the Roman Catholic Church, the training process normally lasts for at least eight years. Roman Catholic priests receive their holy orders at the end of their training and thereafter a pastor or associate pastor is assigned to a parish by a Bishop. Ordained protestant ministers often have to establish their own parishes or apply to become a pastor or associate pastor at an existing parish.

Associate pastors in the Roman Catholic Church and some of the other major Christian denominations essentially perform the same duties as the parish pastor. In some parishes, multiple weekly services are held, and both the pastor and the associate pastor may each lead some of the services. Some Christian denominations are divided into dioceses, or regions, and an associate pastor within a particular diocese may assist pastors in several different parishes. In some instances, a diocese may employ associate pastors who are responsible for handling weekly services whenever a pastor in the diocese is sick or on vacation. Some Christian groups enable parishioners who have not been through formal training to serve as associate pastors although these individuals are sometimes unable to perform some of the tasks that are normally handled by the pastor.

The term associate pastor is commonly used in North America but in other English speaking countries other terms are typically used to describe this position. In the United Kingdom, both Roman Catholic pastors and associate pastors are typically referred to as priests. In the Episcopal Church in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, pastors are sometimes referred to as rectors while associate pastors are often known as vicars or associate vicars. Associate pastors who have not been ordained are also referred to as vergers.

PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Cageybird — On Nov 16, 2014

Our associate pastor is actually in charge of the midweek service. Usually the regular musicians and ushers help with the order of worship, but he's free to ask anyone in the congregation for help. He also delivers the sermon and performs any religious ceremonies, like baptisms and Communion. During the other services, he might fill in for a sick song leader or a missing usher. He tries to make sure he doesn't draw attention away from our head pastor. If he doesn't have anything to do with the service, he'll stay in the church office and help with paperwork.

By Reminiscence — On Nov 15, 2014

In my Protestant denomination, it is not unusual for the pastor of a small congregation to be "promoted" to the position of associate pastor at a larger church. This happened to a pastor of my own church one time. He was just out of seminary training, and the denomination's board of elders assigned him to our small church as his first appointment.

I could tell he wasn't very happy with the conservative nature of most of our members. He was more of a progressive type of minister, and he wanted to do more programs, like a contemporary service and outreach ministries. We just weren't a good fit, I guess. After two years, he was reassigned to a larger church as an associate pastor. The difference in his salary was negligible, and that church's congregation was generally younger. I was glad to see him get a chance to participate in some things we couldn't support.

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.