Churches switching pastors

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by robycop3, May 4, 2007.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3
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    Several denoms, especially Methodists, switch pastors in their churches every 4 years or so, a leftover practice from their "circuit-riding" days when there weren't enough pastors for every church. In my estimation, this prevents a solid pastor-flock relationship & keeps a church unstable.

    I believe the Southern Baptists do this also, but not as often as others. Any comments?
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    Southern Baptists aren't moved around by the SBC (denomination) like Methodists. Yes, some SBC preachers move around too often, but I know of many who have bee at their churches 10+years.

    One of my old mentors said that you don't become the pastor until you're there at least 5 years. If that is the case (and it very well might be), there are far to many churches that haven't had a real pastor in many, many years.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    SBCPreacher is right, the SBC does not move pastors around, but SBC pastors tend to move around a lot.

    I did some checking in the last church I pastored. The church was 125 years old and in that time only one pastor stayed for more than 5 years and he was only there 7.
     
  4. donnA

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    We've had our pastor for 11 years, and our last one was there 10 years.
     
  5. J. Jump

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    One of the reasons is because there are too many pastors that have a corporate mentality and too many churches with that mentality as well. Everyone says you are supposed to start with a small church and work your way up to the larger churches. Well guess who gets stuck with the revolving door of pastors. Yep that's right the "small" churches, because that are just stepping stones to the big time.

    One of the churches where I was being looked at for their ministry vacancy even said as much. And I grew up in a rural "small" SBC church where it was young men right out of seminary that would stay 1-2-3 years and then it was on to the bigger church.

    Churches operate too much like businesses and not enough like churches IMO.
     
  6. Salamander

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    Glad I am IFB
     
  7. Hope of Glory

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    That was the same thing I encountered a while back. Several churches asked me to come pastor because of the revolving door. At the time, the Lord led me to stay here. If and when I move, it will not be simply to get a larger church.

    I would say there's not anything wrong per se with pastoring a larger church, but when that's your driving motivation? The expression "filthy lucre" comes to mind, among other things.
     
  8. Salty

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    OK, but the subject is revolving door Baptist pastors. Thats true whether you are SBC, IFB, GARBC, BBF, and the rest of the alphabet
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    Hah! IFB's are just as bad, if not worse.
     
  10. tinytim

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    I'm glad you are too.
     
  11. tinytim

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    It is sad isn't it...
    Why can't they just stay to build the small church into a bigger church..
    That is my goal...

    Our church is almost 125 yrs old.
    And right now we average between 50 to 65 in worship.

    You would think in 124 yrs, the church would have grown bigger, but when you look at it's history, and the power struggles it used to have, no wonder God didn't use it more than He has...
    But all of that is changing...
     
  12. mcdirector

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    Brandon graduates from SWBTS Friday with his MDiv. My Lutheran friend asked how he would be placed. ;) She was quite appalled at how we do things.

    I am perfectly sure that God places many of those ministers in the denominations that place their pastors. I also know it's not always frequently. The above mentioned friend's pastor has been at her church for many years.

    I am also sure that many of our Baptist pastors are listening to God's beckoning to particular churches. I think what SBCpreacher said is true - that it takes five years to become a pastor. It takes that long to really and truly get to know the families. We have so many evidences of wonderful caring pastors here!

    Having said that, I'm also sure that we've got pastors that look at what they do as a job and not a calling - whether they admit it or not. The revolving door is tough. It happens so much now (across the board in every field) when it happened so rarely just a few years ago.
     
  13. jshurley04

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    Revolving Pastors

    I think that even in the corporate world, not staying any longer than a few years is just as wrong. That gives just enough time for the employer to get really invested in a person and then they move on. I believe in the secular world, when Christ-Followers practice this it gives the name of Christ a bad reputation.

    However, for a pastor to do this is even worse. He is the undershepherd to Christ and is charged with leading the flock. It may also be related to preaching preparation. There may be those that are simply too topical and when the topics run out, so do they. I believe that it is highly irreverent for men of God to simply jump around from church to church. I have established a personal rule in my church. If another calls wanting to speak with me about an opening, then I give them the numbers for my officers and when they give the church permission to speak with me, only then will I speak.
     
  14. StefanM

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    Sometimes churches will never be big churches, no matter what you do.

    In my county, there is a dual problem.

    1) The towns are SATURATED with churches. My church is in a rural town of about 700 or less. There are two Southern Baptist Churches (a church split, which makes it worse), one Methodist church, one Church of Christ, two "Full-Gospel" Churches, one Assembly of God, one United Pentecostal Church, and there might possibly be one more.

    2) The county is in economic collapse. People are leaving in droves because almost all of the jobs are gone, and if you are lucky enough to find a job, you will probably have to work very odd hours, including Sundays. Good luck on trying to be bivocational!

    ---------

    I'm in the process of leaving a church right now (at the end of May) after just over two years as pastor. I don't have anything lined up. In fact, my pregnant wife and I are going to be moving in with my sister, hoping that I'll find some temporary work until God opens a door.

    Why? Of course, I believe it's God's will, but the facts remain. The church is too small to support me full-time. They have no parsonage, so I have to rent. Jobs around here are extremely hard to find (as I have found), and it's well nigh impossible to get one that won't make you work at least a few Sundays. Job openings even for part-time, minimum-wage jobs get STACKS of applications. I have a responsibility to fulfill my duties as a husband (and a future father), so I don't really have a choice. I can't be a good pastor if I can't support my family. I sincerely prayed for God to open a door for me, but he shut them all. Over time I came to the conclusion that God has a calling for me elsewhere, but I don't know where that will be or when it will be.

    -------
    Of course, in my case, this difficult situation came from a church split. I believe the original church had a full-time minister, but the split created two bivocational pastorates. As I'm sure most people can see, church splits + dying towns = disaster.
     
    #14 StefanM, May 6, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2007
  15. tinytim

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    Yeah, I see that... sometimes I shoot off my mouth without thinking...
    God has placed me where we are growing, and it is easy to forget how hard some of you have it. I will pray for you brother...
     
  16. StefanM

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    Oh don't worry! I'm of the same sentiment. I want God to plant me where I can remain for many years to come! Some things just aren't meant to happen, I guess. I'm not happy about having to uproot my life, but I must do what I feel is God's calling.

    I'm taking a class on Evangelism and Church Growth through Liberty right now, and it seems that my present situation is the textbook example for "barriers to church growth."

    We came from a split (power struggles, conflict). We have sub-par facilities (a renovated [as best as possible], 100-year-old, converted one-room schoolhouse with a small portable building for a SS classroom). We don't own the building, and we don't have the budget to relocate (our present arrangement is rent-free).

    We are about two miles outside of the town and about a quarter mile down a dirt road.

    The main young couple in the church is having their third child, so childcare is becoming a major issue (we just recently made a "nursery," but it's really just a tiny room--no other space is available).

    We don't have a regular piano player, nor could we afford to pay one. Our piano itself (digital piano) isn't the best quality, to put it mildly. Our music is old-fashioned, slow, and typically off-key acapella. We try, but we don't really have anyone gifted in vocal music to lead us.

    All of these factors would inhibit a church in any location. When you combine them with the fact that it's located in a dying town about to lose its school, it grieves you.
     
  17. Joseph M. Smith

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    One aspect of this matter that has come to concern me is the idea of "applying" for a pastorate. It used to be that no one actually sent in an application for a vacant pastorate, and if he did, he was thought to be too ambitious. I served on a pulpit committee in Kentucky back in the '60's, and we threw out those who "applied". Of course, we overlooked the uncomfortable fact that instead of a formal application, a person who wanted to be considered would just get a friend of his to write a "Lord led me to suggest my buddy" letter -- tantamount to an application.

    But now just the opposite seems to be happening. In my senior years I have consulted with some pulpit committees, suggesting people they might want to look at, and the answer I get is, "But he has not applied; we don't know if he wants to move." I urge them to call him and find out if there is any interest, but (I guess because we are in Washington, DC, with that government mentality) they generally want someone to cross the t's and dot the i's before he is even discussed!

    I still struggle with our placement system, too. Only once during my twenty year pastorate did I talk with a pulpit committee, and that was because its chairman was an old friend who thought I might be right for his church. But the church dismissed that committee and elected another one before we went very far! Now, as I work with the Baptist students graduating from a Methodist seminary, I really struggle with how best to get their names before churches, since there isn't much of a "good-old-boy" system to write the above-mentioned "Lord led me" letters. Some of the Southern Baptist seminaries "market" their graduates with broadsheets mailed out widely; I am thinking of trying that just for the DC area.
     
  18. tinytim

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    Joseph what about the AB Personnel Services....Since I know that we both are ABC. I have never used them, but I hear about them all the time.

    For those of you that are wondering, "Just what is tiny saying?"
    Within our denomination, ABC-USA, we have an agency that is personnel services...

    IOWS if I feel God moving me somewhere, I can fill out a profile with all my information along with my gifts, weaknesses, strengths, etc. and they match me to churches that are looking for pastors like me. Then the church searching for a pastor looks at all the potentials and contacts who they want. (It is just the "good ole boy" system gone high-tech)

    Our state convention, WVBC has basically the same thing...
    This is how God placed me where I am today.
    I felt God calling me away from where I was... (BTW, a great church, with very few problems, and a budget big enough to handle anything)
    So, I filled out my state profile. It got circulated, and I got a few calls.
    I preached for a couple churches, and was seriously considering one, when I got a call from my current church's pulpit committee.

    And viola, here I am.
     
  19. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    It seems to me like everyone in this post is convinced that pastors should stay longer at churches. I agree that it takes time to get to know families and all of that, but there are advantages to changing pastors every few years. First and foremost it keeps people’s eyes on God instead of God’s man. Particularly in large IFB churches many times a founding pastor will build a church and stay for decades, but when he dyes or leaves the entire ministry falls apart. Because it was built around the man and not around God (I am not picking on anyone in particular here I have seen this several times).

    As an interim pastor my ministry has always been temporary. The longest I ever pastored was 12 months. But I was always called (I felt) to deal with a specific problem and help a church move on to a more stable condition. People can get a complacent ‘we have always done it that away’ attitude and a new Pastor can shake things up and interject new life. I guess my point is that the ‘revolving door’ is not always bad.
     
  20. Mike McK

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    The person earlier who said that it's the "corporate mentality" that some believe you must start in a small church and work your way up was right on the money.

    I can't tell you how many pastors I've seen leave their church, not because God called them somewhere else, but because they got a better offer.

    I think the idea that so many pastors see it as a job and not as a holy calling accounts for a lot of the burn out we see among pastors today.
     

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