How Long Does It Take?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by USN2Pulpit, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    Pastors, in your view and experience, how long does it take before you're "really" the pastor? I'm at 1 and 1/2 years now, and most of the congregation are on board, yet some still look to the elder deacon still for approval. I've heard some say at least two years...but possibly closer to five.
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

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    I think it depends on the church and the situation surrounding the church. I have been at my current church for about a 1 1/2 years as well and I feel like I am "really" the pastor. Now at my last church I was there for a little over 4 years and never did reach that point. It just depends on the people, the pastor, the problems, etc.

    I think probably a general rule of thumb is 2 years at least. And I think this is where many pastors go wrong. They come to a new church and have all these ideas, etc. They come in and shoot their bullets off and expect everyone to follow and it just doesn't happen. And it leads to problems for the pastor and the church and in a couple years the pastor is gone and the church is having to go through the same thing again with a new pastor.

    I think we need to come into every new situation and expect to take atleast 2 years to get to know folks, build trust and allow God to move in the hearts of the people and the pastor. If it happens before then, great. If not, keep praying and doing what the Lord leads and it will come in time.
     
  3. untangled

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    Brother,

    I'm not a pastor yet, but I have learned a thing or two. One deciding factor is also how much the deacons support you. I've even been interim in churches where one deacon "controls" every action within the church. In my opinion, earning the trust of the leadership of the church is vital.

    In Christ,

    Brooks
     
  4. Greg Linscott

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    Circumstances vary. I'm a little over one year in, but the church has blossomed from 29 to 63 active members in that time span. That has helped to establish me with our people very quickly, especially since the majority of folks have very little in the way of preconceived notions or "how we've always done it." Of course it does bring on its own unique set of challenges.
     
  5. TaterTot

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    Our last church, DH NEVER really became the pastor. They always said, well "Earnest NEVER would have done THAT!" and similar comments. Earnest had been there 15 years prior. And in tose 15 years since he had done, they had had9 pastors. Hmm.
    In this church, we have been here 5 years, and in most ways DH is the pastor. Some of the older folks still call a deacon when trouble arises and expect that it'll make it to the pastors ears. But for the most part, it took about 3 years for them to trust. Many STILL make comments that indicate that they are afraid we will leave. We try to reassure them that we dont have plans for that, but they have been hurt before. And so have we. Unfortunately, its part of the cycle.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    More than five years. I am going on 7 now and am starting to see it. It takes a long time. You have to work "in the system" so to speak. It also depends on growth rates. The more people who come while you are there will increase the time. For Greg, growing from 29 to 63 means that more than 1/2 came to church because of him, or at least with him being the pastor. That means they don't have the ties to any other authority in the church. That helps tremendously.
     
  7. gb93433

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    One church I pastored I became the pastor almost immediately because the church essentially died under the previous pastor. They were glad for me and tried to help in any way they could. They saw my success as their success. At another church, things were exactly the opposite--I could not do anything right. Both churches grew slightly over 20 percent each year. The miserable church has regressed and the good church is doing very well today. They bought land and have buildings and are doing very well.

    You can only lead people who will allow you to lead.
     
  8. exscentric

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    I'd say 2-3 years but it all depends on what is going on. Like gb93433 I took a church on as interium and was waaaayyyy accepted immediately, didn't take more than a couple weeks and I wasn't really the pastor. On the other hand I was at one for 1 1/2 years and was not accepted by hardly anyone.

    Need I think is a key - the peoples feeling of needing a pastor. If they can do it on their own, what are you there for :)

    The key is whether God needs you there :) and accepts you as the pastor.
     
  9. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    True, exscentric. We pastors need to remember Who we ultimately are responsible to. We can please all the people in the world, but it doesn't mean a thing if we disappoint our Father.
     
  10. blackbird

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    I believe it OUGHT to take about as long as it takes to get his things unloaded from the U-Haul truck---the day you hire him is the day he becomes the pastor---if the people take that long to accept him--thats just that long they are living in rebellion against God!!

    My soul, whats wrong with our churches---when it takes that long (1-5 years) for the people to accept the pastor as the pastor??

    Why after 5 years do the people still run to some Sunday morning only deacon with a problem?(which is usually a gripe against the pastor they refuse to accept as Leader of the church)

    Then the people wonder why the pastor is passing his credentials out "bulk mail" after only 2 years!!

    "Whats wrong with the preacher??? He must not like us!!"

    Have mercy!

    Well-----they did it to Jesus and to Moses---whats to think after 2000 years it(pastoral rebellion) shouldn't be any different!!!
     
  11. GODzThunder

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    Generally, it takes an average of 18 months for the "honeymoon" to end and the true relationship to begin. So at around twenty four months you will konw where you stand with the hearts of your people. By then you will feel if you are really the pastor OR if you need to re-think you approach to your people through personal change.
     
  12. Greg Linscott

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    An observation:

    Make sure that your feelings don't keep you from doing what is right. You may feel slighted when you are left out of the loop. There will be times when you don't "feel" like the pastor. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that you ARE. God has put you there for a reason. Are you going to fulfill it before Him, or back down because of the pressure?

    It's like a marriage. Whether or not you "feel" like you are husband and wife 14 months in, you are. What's going to get you "feeling" like you are married is fulfilling your role. Establishing yourself will be done by taking on the challenges, approaching it with the mindset that you are here for the long haul and shopping your resume after two years is simply not an option.

    Know your role, and do it. Well.
     
  13. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    Good words...
     
  14. j_barner2000

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    I have been very fortunate in that since I have been called only 4 months ago, the members have accepted me well as pastor and shepherd. As we discussed on that phone call, USN, the members had a rough time for the last few years with prior pastors. I think that God had been a long time preparing all of us for this situation. I left the town next door to move to AZ. and God brought us back home. I think that has really helped us.
     
  15. MNsaint82

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    I'm not one, but I have see my pastor and his family sorely mistreated in the past few years. He's been here for about 5-6 years and I joined about 3yrs into it. My pastor felt called of God to take a six-month sebatical. He'd not had a vacation in a while and things were getting tense. I and 3 others prayed for and supported him, though we were sad to see him leave. A few weeks later, we held a meeting and it was all mud-slinging towards Pastor and his family. My friends and I were new and young compared to the rest, so we were afraid to speak up, and when we did it was hardly acknowledged. I do not understand how a congregation mostly made of older saints who should know better, can betray their pastor like that. They actually threatened his job if he did not return soon!! The attitude towards him is still on the decline, and I have serious concerns about belonging to a church like that.
     
  16. USN2Pulpit

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    MNsaint82, this is exactly the occassion when you should rise to your pastor's defense. If you leave the church at this point, you may be leaving him with even less support. There are many good-hearted Christians who can't stand to see these things going on - so they leave - leaving the poor pastor to take it all on his own.

    As a matter of fact, there are many statistics that imply that if people would have just stayed and spoke up, the minority of loud troublemakers would be defeated.

    There is one case around here where I minister. A couple of the old guard families forced a pastor to resign. When he left, he "planted" another church, and over 80% of the church he resigned from came and are now active members.

    Those members should not have allowed that to happen in their church. That pastor may not have resigned - especially if he'd known he had that much support!
     
  17. PastorSBC1303

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    USN exactly, great point.
     
  18. bobbyd

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    I'm just about done with my first year of pastoring at my current church, and i'm too wondering if/when i will be considered the "pastor".
    By a large number of the newer and younger members, that has taken place. But for the older more established members (those who have been here during the entire 150+ years, lol), i have no idea if/when it will take place.
    The current active deacons have accepted me and my leadership...the problem comes mainly with one inactive deacon who speaks on behalf of the above mentioned older members.

    My problem isn't so much the previous pastor...he left here after only a year, and for many it was good bye and good ridance. My problem is with the fact the pastor before him is still held on a pedastal. He was here for almost 7 years...which is a record for this congregation, and too many people have not gotten over the fact that he has left (even though it took place over 3 years ago).

    My goal is to be here until God says go...i just hope frustration doesn't speak before God does.

    my 2 cents,
    bobbyd
     

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