The Lifecycle of Pastors and Churches
by Thom Rainer
Almost twenty years ago, I began to note that the tenure of a pastor often follows a predictable pattern. Now, almost two decades later, I still see many of the same patterns, though I have refined the categories and time spans a bit.
I fully understand that these categories are not definitive, and there will certainly be exceptions to the rule. Nevertheless, I offer this lifecycle as a guide that I hope will prove useful to both pastors and congregations alike.
Honeymoon: Years 0 to 1
The new pastor is perceived to be the answer to all the needs and the problems of the church. He is often viewed as a hero because he is not his predecessor. Though some of his faults begin to show during this period, he is often given a pass. Expectations are high that he will be molded into the image that each congregant would like to have.
Crisis: Years 1 to 3
It is now apparent that the pastor is fully human. He has not lived up to the precise expectations of many of the members. This phase includes a number of conflicts and struggles. Indeed it is the most common time that pastors choose to leave the church or they are force terminated. This single epoch of a pastoral tenure contributes more to short tenures than any other time.
Source: Christian Post
Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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