Mainline churches should avoid like the plague bringing ordained Associate Pastors on their staff. Instead they should raise up effective, non-ordained staff. There are several reasons for this:

1. They already have the DNA of the congregation.
2. Their effectiveness has been observed long enough to know they can do what they are being hired to do.
3. They tend to be more specialists than generalists which is what is needed now.
4. They tend to stay much longer than ordained people.
5. They tend to be more effective.
6. They always cost less money when you consider the total package.

Non-mainline churches usually have a stable of associate pastors. But here is the catch. Most often in non-mainline church that are Track Three churches, most if not all of the pastors have been raised up from within the church and ordained by the church. Most of them have never been to seminary. Track Three congregations never make this mistake. They know that what the world is looking for is authentic amateurs who love Jesus, not professionals. They develop deep farm systems within their church for the single purpose of raising up leaders for a variety of ministries. The two leadership positions that I see the most grooming for today are future staff and future church planting pastors.