Thriving in the Second Chair

Ten Practices for Robust Ministry (When You're Not in Charge)

By Mike Bonem Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9781501814242 $18.99 Buy
eBook image ISBN: 9781501814259 $18.99 Buy
Identifies and explores ten key factors to thrive in ministry.

Second chair leaders play a critical role in churches across the world. They serve in paid and unpaid capacities, and include laity, ordained clergy, bivocational, licensed local pastors and others who lead significant ministries, but who are not the lead or senior pastor.

Mike Bonem, author of Leading from the Second Chair, takes that important work to the next level, with Thriving in the Second Chair. Here, Bonem points readers beyond their external circumstances to the ways they can act and think differently. He highlights ten key factors that will help second chair leaders do more than just survive. These deep “springs” will enable them to thrive, so that their lives and ministries are fulfilling, vital, and sustainable.

The first three springs relate to the single most important professional relationship for any second chair leader – their relationship with the first chair. The next four look at some of the most common and essential aspects of the second chair’s job. The final three springs are arguably the deepest and most important. They enable second chairs to thrive even if they’re struggling with the first seven. These three springs offer help for staying spiritually anchored, overcoming loneliness, and becoming re-energized.


“ . . . is an urgently needed resource. The discussion questions alone could be game-changers for the healthy success of first- and second-chair relationships.”
—Sue Nilson Kibbey, Director of Missional Church Initiatives, West Ohio Conference (UMC); author of Flood Gates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church

“ . . . is practical and relevant, a thoughtfully crafted map to ten springs that keep a second chair leader refreshed and thriving.”
—Tami Heim, President and CEO, Christian Leadership Alliance

“ . . . lays the groundwork for a personally fulfilling and professionally sustainable life in ministry. Mike’s advice is an encouragement to those of us leading a ministry beyond our control.”
—Dan Entwistle, Managing Executive Director, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS

About the Author

Mike Bonem

Mike Bonem is a Christ-follower, author, consultant, coach, speaker, pastor, businessperson, husband and father. He loves to help churches and ministries, and their leaders, reach their God-given potential. Mike’s previous books include Leading from the Second Chair and In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership. He has spoken across the country and internationally on topics related to ministry leadership and congregational effectiveness. Mike has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a breadth of experience in ministry and business, including 11 years as an executive pastor, consulting with some of the country’s leading churches and with Fortune 100 companies, and leading a start-up business. More information is available at