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Reasons to Stay
The majority of pastors miss out on the most fruitful—and enjoyable—times of ministry.

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  • More money. Human nature is always dissatisfied, whatever we make.
  • Conflict. Another characteristic of human nature—conflict exists wherever there are people.
  • You're getting stale. Commit to being a life-time learner. It will keep you and your church in touch with today's issues.
  • Greener pastures. See Philippians 4:12.
  • Boredom. To quote Rick Warren, "It's not about you."
  • Burnout. Whether you have reached that point or not, take time to retreat and renew.
  • An exploratory call. We all like to be liked. But just because a church is calling, that doesn't mean God is, too.
  • You're out of sermons. If this is your reason, you're just lazy and shouldn't be in the ministry at all.
  • Too much pressure. So your next church will be without pressure? And, if your motivation to move is to avoid pressure, see the response to "boredom" above.

If you are a lay church leader, the next time you look for a new pastor, make intended longevity a criteria. If you are a denominational leader, encourage pastors to remain faithful rather than abandon their church in difficult times.

I believe there is a relationship between the three following facts:

  1. A pastor's most productive time usually begins in years 5, 6, and 7;
  2. The average pastoral tenure in Protestant churches is less than 4 years;
  3. Nearly 85 percent of today's churches are plateaued or in decline.

It's sad that the vast majority of pastors miss out on potentially the most fruitful—and enjoyable—times of ministry. Don't become one of the statistics.

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Topics:Burnout, Church Attendance, Commitment, Growth
Filters:Pastor, Pastoral care

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May 06, 2013  12:26pm

I remember looking at the timeline of pastors in the fellowship hall of the small New England church where I was doing my mentored ministry. At the point where the church started using interim pastors the pastoral tenure became shorter and shorter. It just so happened that the church declined during the same period. The pastor who was mentoring me had been their for almost 10 years and the church was experiencing growth.

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