20 Things to Look for in a Good Right-Hand Man

Mark Driscoll » Church Leadership Executive Pastor

When it comes to the call of leadership, there's nothing wrong with being a #2.

In fact, it’s a high calling. For instance, Jesus is the right-hand man of his Father (actually seated at God’s right hand), doing the work God the Father sent him to do. 

A good right-hand man is hard to find. The following is a list of thoughts I recently sent to the Mars Hill Church lead pastors—fourteen men who lead each of our local churches, whom I love very much and want to have good godly support—regarding what to look for in their second-in-command. These thoughts are in no particular order, and I thought it might be helpful to pass them on. A good right-hand man:

1. Prays for you and your family often.

He’s the one guy whom you can guarantee will pray for you on something if you ask him to, and he prays for you and your family every day. 

2. Loves you.

He sees himself as your ally on mission, is for you, and wants you to succeed. 

3. Does your thing.

He’s not using you to do his thing. 

4. Goes where you go.

If you are teaching a class, he is there with you. If you have a meeting, he’s there with you. He’s there to help you, see what you see, learn, listen, assist, encourage, and give you feedback by asking good questions on how to implement the vision God has given you.

5. Honors you.

Particularly in front of others, he sets a culture of respect by referring to you as his pastor and genuinely respecting your spiritual authority.

6. Tells you the truth.

If it’s bad news, he tells you privately and respectfully, but he gives you the truth in love. 

7. Complements you.

He knows what you aren’t good at, and he does those things so that you can do what you are good at.

8. Works in the church so that you can work on the church.

He does a lot of day-to-day leadership so that you can figure out the future—how to serve more people, reach more people, and train more leaders.

9. Gives you the information you need in a regular and organized fashion.

For me, this is a Tuesday and Friday “big items” email that takes me an hour or more to read and respond to. All of our senior leaders give organized information and the executive pastor organizes it into one document so that I know everything that is going on and can answer any questions and speak into any issues by responding to one long email.

10. Is humble enough to act like an assistant when needed.

If this means you need something to eat, a cup of coffee, or an errand, he’s willing to do it as needed. 

11. Does not manipulate his access to you to get special treatment.

He’s not trying to squeeze in excess pay, an ear for his pet projects, friends, or more. 

12. Prays a ton.

He prays for you, the church, and pretty much anything and everything. 

13. Loves Jesus and the church more than you.

Both are hugely important. If he only loves Jesus, he will not serve the church. If he only loves the church, it becomes an idol replacement for Jesus. 

14. Gets stuff done.

If you give him to do a task, you don’t have to follow up to see if it’s done. If you find that you aren’t giving a task because you do not trust him, he needs to change or he’s not a good fit. 

15. Is always accessible.

If you call or text on his day off, he’s available and on it. 

16. Is enjoyable.

You will spend enough time together that, if not “friends,” you at least enjoy one another, have some laughs, and are brothers. 

17. Works hard.

He pulls the hours to get the job done. You simply don’t wonder if he’s dogging it. 

18. Does not want your job.

He’s not trying to leverage his job to get something better, and is content to do his job so that you can do yours.

19. Is not greedy.

He does not manipulate expenses and reimbursements to take advantage of his position.

20. Is faithful to the end.

If the time comes for him to move on, you know you can kindly ask him to do so and he will without dropping the ball, being divisive, or going into attack mode because he loves Jesus, the church, and you.

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