It takes 3 years to be a pastor?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by NateT, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. NateT

    NateT
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    I was talking with a friend of mine who has been a pastor for around 20 years (maybe more). He said something that I thought was interesting, and thought I'd see how you guys felt on it.

    He told me something like "You don't become a pastor until you've been there 3 years."

    In you experience as pastors or church staff, has that been true? Does it usually take that long for the church to trust you, your wisdom, and guidance? Or does it take longer or shorter in your experience?
     
  2. rufus

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    The first three years are the "honey moon" period. Congregations get to know the pastor but don't always fully trust him.

    After five years, the congregation (for the most part) begins to really follow the pastor. He's been around long enough to gain trust and loyalty.

    I've been pastoring for over 30 years and have seen the above pattern. IMHO.

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Five years is probably closer. Much of it depends on the church, the growth rate etc. For instance, if the pastor can lead the church to great growth, say doubling in a year, he will find it much easier because the new people came to join him in the ministry. If the church is made up all of people who were there before him, he will find it harder because he came to join them in the ministry. A lot of it probably depends on size, pastoral style of the previous pastor, etc.
     
  4. blackbird

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    Trust of a pastor should not be "gained" but should be "given" the very moment the preacher hops off of the U-Haul truck!

    That does not happen--but it is Bible!

    Blackbird
     
  5. Jim1999

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    If the pastor cannot gain the confidence of the people in a few months, there is something seriously wrong. Someone better make a fast adjustment.

    Many ministries, a few years back, were limited to 4 - 5 years. The Methodist made this a practice at one time.

    At one of my churches, I knew straight off that I wouldn't last there and 8 months later I was gone. It wasn't a question of confidence, but incompatability, on both sides. We both goofed, and it only took a few months to figure it out.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    I do interim work now, so see the timetable compressed. As a pastor it would take a few months (NOT 3 or 5 years) to gain a good raport with the people. Now it is 3-4 months.

    Interims need to help people deal with the loss and problems and lack of pastoral leadership. I find almost instant raport and people LONGING for someone to counsel and minister.

    Others? They just abide me, and wait until a new pastor comes. Both kinds in this type of ministry.
     
  7. NateT

    NateT
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    I agree with the last couple posts that it should only take a few months to start to bond with a congregation.

    I wonder if we're not talking about two different things now. When I posted the first message I had in mind a good example. As part of our seach committee we talked with someone who told us that he had interviewed with a church and during the meeting told them all the things they need to change (tear down and old building and rebuild, was the one that sticks in my mind). The thought among the committee members was "How was he able to evaluate that based on 1 interview?"

    I can guarentee if we called someone and they said that to the whole church within the first few months of coming, he'd probably lose the congregation! At least at our church.

    I was also thinking if I'm avg Joe Churchman sitting in the pew and this pastor wants to start several new programs, or do several new things I'm going to start doing some serious thinking. If the church isn't used to a pastor with a long tenure (7 - 10 years), I'll probably start wondering if this guy will even be around to finish what he's started. It seems like that would take awhile.

    It take a while in the secular world. I think we're on either our 2nd or 3rd VP for my group at work. I haven't even been here 3 years yet. So when they announced this new VP the thought was raised "I wonder how long he'll stay." We have managers that move every year or two, the work still gets done, but it leaves a bad taste in the employees mouths.

    I guess I've rambled on too long.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    I agree that good rapport should happen within a couple of months. That was not what I was addressing. I had good rapport with the people from day one. But I have seen the increase in trust and pastoring for four years and there is a marked difference.

    I think the issues that n&b_t brought up is a valid one. These people are wondering how long you are going to be there. I know from experience that they thought that here. They though I would be gone after a couple of years and so there was some hesitancy. Some people came to work with me and they asked me, "How long till this starts changing?" I said, "We have to outlast them," meaning we have to prove we are in for the long haul. If they think we are going to turn this church upside down and leave them holding the bag, they will be very hesitant. But once we show that we are in for the long haul, then things will start changing. It has proven true.

    I agree that it should not be this way but that is the reality of it.

    So I think perhaps two different things are being addressed here.
     
  9. Ben W

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    Interestingly a Salvation Army officer can stay a maximum of seven years in one church. Once he has left, he cannot be in touch with the people from his last church for three months. This is to give the new Corps Officer a chance to settle in.
     
  10. Daniel Dunivan

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    Pastor Larry has a good point. I would say that if a church is used to having pastors stay 3-4 years at a time, then they will have trouble trusting a pastor with larger issues (building facilities, major program changes, etc.) until he/she has been their for at least 5 years. However, at the last church I pastored, I was there for 3 years and within the last year they began to trust me a great deal (because they had not had a pastor say more than 2 years in the last 25 years). I would have loved to stay, but I graduated from the school I was attending and was forced to move if I wanted to continue my education.

    My dad had been pastoring his church for 17 years, and in that case whatever he says goes. This can also be a problem.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  11. blackbird

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    I've read Ambrose's series on the citizen soldiers of the US Army as well as other good reports and critiques--interesting--

    The privates, corporals, and sergaents all are required to do a full one year "tour" while the commissioned officers were only required to do half that time! By the time the company got use to a commanding officer--he was gone and another one took his place--and the process had to start all over again. One of the shortfalls of leadership in the US Army.

    I'll stand by my post--as you other posters have each given good analysis--leadership is "given" and respect is "given" the pastor the very minute he steps off the U-Haul truck.

    Blackbird
     
  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    I'm not sure how "Bible" this position is, Blackbird. It takes time to see that a man (whether learned or unlearned) has spent time with Jesus. I don't know how much time this should take but it's not going to be compressed to the time it takes for the pastor get the U-Haul unloaded.

    Jude tells to have a healthy skepticism about those who would enter our churches. This includes those who would enter as pastor.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Do you all see the modern "movement" of pastors as being in any way Biblical?

    I see in the NT the ordaining and raising up of elders from WITHIN each city/congregation, not calling in an elder from 1000 miles away.

    Where have we changed the biblical format?
     
  14. NateT

    NateT
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    I've wondered about that myself there Dr. Bob.

    I've thought alot about the movement from one place to the next, and the only thing I can think of is Paul. His missionary journeys. However, I guess the argument there is that 1) He was starting churches and 2) he wasn't really pastoring the ones he didn't start.

    I think the movement from 1000 miles away to a new church could just go with the territory of movement in general. My grandma, who was 87, grew up in a small town in central missouri. She moved MAYBE 25 - 30 miles from there and lived in another small town until she moved 100 miles to live in the same town as my dad (she had a stroke and need the help). However, two generations later, my sister moved from KC to college station (and now possibly to Michigan) and I moved to Peoria. For jobs/school. Its a lot more normal for people to do that and that could be the reason pastors do it.
     
  15. Ernie Brazee

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    Why is it neccessary for a pastor to change churches? Why did the previous pastor leave? These are imprortant questions. If the pastor left because of incompatiblity, perhaps a new pastor would never build a raport, as the people are resisting pastoral authority(which is another subject).

    Our first pastor stayed 24 years and our present pastor has been here 13, and has no plans on moving on.

    To answer the original question, our present pastor was accepted almost immediately as he was assitant pastor for several years, and the congregation believed it was the Lord's will for him to be called as pastor.

    This is an important point; if the church prays about who they should call as pastor, they will have no problem accepting the one the Lord sends.
     

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