Well, here it is… the final post on the topic of Prone to Wander! So far this week we talked about the negative consequences of leaving too early, and seven things that contribute to our desire to do so. Now, I want to share with you…
4 Practices that Produce Short Pastorates:
1. Going it alone. Whatever you do in ministry, do not go it alone! Loneliness and isolation almost guarantee pastoral failure. First, you don’t know enough to try and do your ministry alone. You need the help of the body of Christ. Second, you’ll miss out on partnership, camaraderie, and the joy of teamwork.
Do you have others on your ministry team? Are there some people in the church that you’ve known for a while you needed to tap and move into a ministry, but just haven’t? Perhaps you fear rejection. You think they’ll say no. Maybe they’re just waiting to be asked.
I recently asked two people to serve in our church (they’ve been around for several years but haven’t been serving) and they were surprised to be asked and happily said yes. They’ve served like superstar athletes in our church these last few months – they were just waiting to be asked! Do not go it alone. Gather a team, empower others, and enjoy the game.
In today’s podcast I talk “tongue in cheek” about feeling the itch to move to a different church. I share how for the first time in nine years I had someone else preach for me, even though I had nothing else going on. Again, tongue in cheek, because I was slammed that week and needed to cry “uncle” to one of my elders, who graciously preached for me that Sunday. While we use a fair amount of humor in this podcast, our topic is a serious one – What makes a Pastor want to leave?
There are seven things we identify that cause pastors to feel like hanging it up and moving to another church:
Discouragement – How easy it is for pastors to get discouraged! It is said that it takes fifteen compliments to make up for one criticism; and, on average, it takes only seven negative people to drive a pastor out of a ministry. If these numbers are off at all, they are not off by much. Because we have such a passion to help and encourage people, when someone shares how we have failed them or the church, it cuts deeply. Discouragement is an all too common reality for pastors of local churches.
Failure – When we attempt a ministry initiative and it fails, especially if we fail repeatedly, we want to hit the road. Because we are working with people and not products, we take failure seriously, as well we should. But we should also understand that while Babe Ruth held some home run records, he also held some strikeout records. If you’re going to step up to the plate and hit home runs, you have to be ready to also strike out fairly often. Do what John Maxwell recommends and Fail Forward!
This week’s topic is Prone to Wander – that moment when you feel like looking online for another church or ministry! Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the church I love… You’ve likely been there if you have pastored a church for any amount of time. The grass looks greener, the people look better, the community more open to the Gospel, the board structure more supportive, and the opportunities more inviting – at the next church!
Maybe you’re there right now. Maybe you have been looking at churchstaffing.com or ministersearch.com, or even simplyhired.com! Maybe you have given up on the church you are pastoring and hope to find a better place. Then this week’s content is for you!
I am convinced that long pastorates are much more effective than short term stays. As a rule of thumb, the decision to stay is almost always the better choice. After all, why are you leaving? Problems? Welcome to ministry! Stubborn people? Welcome to the people business! Opposition? Welcome to the reality that you may be wrong once in a while! While those all may be reasons you want to leave, they will all be waiting for you at your next church. As the Men’s Warehouse guy says, “I guarantee it!”
On this week’s podcast we talk about the dynamics that make pastors want to leave. Yes, on Wednesday’s podcast we will be negative, we will wallow in the muck and mire of self-pity, and explore those issues that make us feel like getting out of Dodge!
But today I want to give you three results of leaving a church too early:
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