It is interesting in an era where church planting is so incredibly popular and ministers are choosing to plant a church over pastoring an existing church that we church members do not strive to treat our current pastor better! This is not an article on compensation, but on compassion and caring of the one who feeds the flock and why it is becoming increasingly difficult to discover a pastor once your church has had a pastor leave. In the coming years there will be a growing challenge of a declining pastor pool while the planter pool keeps growing. Realistically it is a cycle certainly and I remember about 20 years ago just how hard it was to find someone wanting to plant a new church. Everyone wanted to pastor one that was already launched and prayed hard that God would allow him to become a pastor of a church already in existence once they graduated from Seminary or Bible School. The humorous remark voiced by many younger ministers going into churches over planting was that a church planter was one who did not have a ministry assignment four weeks after graduation.
Times have changed and church planting is for many ministers the viable option and the raising opportunity for many clergy. Considering the state of the church in North America more and more ministers leaving seminary are opting to plant over going into a church that is struggling to discover who it is for the future. There is coming an increasing pastor shortage to fill the pulpits of existing churches. It is anticipated that for declining attendance churches it might just take the church more than the usual 13 to 18 months to call a new pastor to as extensive as 36 months to finally call a preacher willing to serve as its pastor.
Three point six! A LifeWay Research poll found the average pastoral tenure in a church today is currently 3.6 years (via Thom Rainer’s blog).
I see even around central Florida where I live, the need for our local church leaders to understand that the number of potential ministers available to become your next pastor is on a decline. That is why I firmly believe many churches just might treat their next pastor better than their present one once they loose their current minister!
Why Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better!
There are some critical reasons that churches in the future just might treat their next pastor better than the one who just left saying enough is enough. While this is not an exhaustive list if you are an active laymen in your church or a pastor consider sharing this edition of The Church Revitalizer blog with key leaders in you ministry.
Let’s Consider Why Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better:
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because it Took So Long to Find One!
Churches are dismissing pastors at alarming rates and pastors are leaving churches in near alarming rates now that the economy has begun to pick up. The search for one to serve your church, if you are either in a state of plateau or decline, becomes limited.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because They will Fear the Continued Hardships experienced during the period without a pastor shepherd.
Most churches during the exodus of a pastor face participation decline as well as the hardships that go with a shrinking pool of volunteers. Those who would regularly volunteer for assignments, view this time as a short sabbatical to get some rest and to determine if this church is still something they want to support. Some will take flight and by the time you have stabilized your church with a new pastor, they are already warmly united into another church and do not desire to return.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because they saw the financial struggle they experienced when there was not a pastor leader.
Once the final days of a previous pastor have occurred there will be those who will take a supportive retreat from the commitments they have made to be regular systematic givers to your church. When pastors are in place there is the continual ongoing commitment to support the church and its ministries. While many will remain faithful to supporting the church proponents of today’s shopping center, culture will often see no reason to participate.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because the Drift Which Took Place by Present Members During this Interim Period was Difficult to Change.
When the BIG Moe (momentum) is lost it is extremely hard to regain the momentum, which was taken for granted. Things are different and those who were accustomed to the flow and the feel of the previous leadership begin to drift away from their regular attendance. We usually say that a participant is a regular participant if they worship at least twice a month. Suddenly, the drifters are showing up about once every six weeks and there capacity to feel connected is drifting away.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because there is a now apparent need to reproduce new leaders within the stalled church.
Curtis Freeman who is a Baptist theology professor and now leads the Baptist House of Studies at Duke University declares that, “many churches are like mules, they are strong, but they do not reproduce." Churches facing eventual decline must work towards raising up a new group of leaders within the church which will lead into the coming generations. By all accounts, the role of pastors, church staff members and other church leaders in calling out the called cannot be underestimated. Why is there not a greater host of young people within our Greater Orlando Baptist Association churches praying about a life in the pulpit? That is a question I have pondered for the past few years as your Executive Director of Missions. This has bewildered me because what could be more exhilarating and satisfying than preaching the Word of God with power and watching the Holy Spirit carry a group of people forward?
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because they failed to draw younger leaders into their church due to preferences of existing members over their desire to reach new younger members.
The Lord has not withdrawn His hand of blessing churches through the calling of young ministers like Timothy within the scriptures.
God has not stopped calling people into vocational ministry, but too many churches and pastors have failed to do their part in amplifying and interpreting the call, he warned. "I don't think God ever stopped calling men and women. We just stopped nurturing and cultivating it." The recruiting function begins in the local church,
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because the available pastor pool is aging and the choices are becoming less and less.
Did you know that nearly 30 percent of Southern Baptist ministers today are older than 55, while only 10 percent are younger than 35? This fact alone could result in an approaching lack of pastors and church staff leaders within congregations nationwide. It is a sound of warning for the local church and its future when one future minister is entering the work of ministry while there is at the same time three ministers who are retiring from the work of the ministry.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because the larger population of potential ministers are becoming missionaries and church planters.
Added to the aging pool of available ministers is the challenge of the fact that a little less than one-third of seminarians today declare that they expect to serve within the local existing church ministries. Most are sensing a call to various Para-church networks, becoming a missionary either at home or abroad, serving as a social ministry worker, or becoming a ministry chaplain.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because there appeared to be conflict or scandal in previous leadership and potential ministers are fearful of your church and its inability to keep a pastor.
It saddens me to hear of any pastor who has fallen in the work of the Lord! Having interviewed a few in my ministry while each one said the trouble was with them, some actually added that they were coerced to go to a church which was a unable to keep a pastor or work along side of the shepherd leader. When bickering is active in the church it is often hard for the pastor to guide God’s children if they refuse to be led. The eventual effect is the pastor chooses to leave or the church chooses for him.
Many Churches Just Might Treat Their Next Pastor Better Because your declining ability to support a pastor sufficiently might signal the move from full time to part-time or bi-vocational pastoral leadership.
Would your membership desire to go to work for a business that asked them to work with low pay, which kept them from supporting their families? Of course not. Why would a minister then go somewhere where they could not support their family? God can and sometimes does call individuals into the work of ministry where there are unrealistic demands and support. When the Lord leads you to that specific place you have a clear sense of the divine and wait for His guidance and support. Lack of that specific sensing from the Lord going to a church, which wants a full-time minister, but can only afford a part-time minister only creates frustration for both parties. God calls the Shepherd to a high calling and any church which lessens the respect an under shepherd is due, is in danger of God’s withdrawal of future blessings.
Let’s think about that fact and begin doing something about it! If you would like to have conversations related to this blog post, why not drop me a line so we can begin your journey and conversation.
You can connect with Dr. Tom Cheyney and the RENOVATE Church Revitalization Virtual Coaching Network additionally via Facebook at RENOVATE Conference. Tom is the co-author of Spin-Off Churches (B&H Publishers), a conference speaker and a frequent writer on church planting, new church health, and church revitalization. Be looking for The Biblical Foundations for Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials later this year. If you or your church would like more information you may contact him at Tom@renovateconference.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.