In my years of ministry, I have narrowed down this issue into the three most common reasons as to why churches cannot seem to keep a pastor. Though there are other issues that can be addressed like a declining membership due to the local economy in relation to meeting the financial obligation of a particular pastor and simply picking the wrong pastor, most churches, who are on a continual search for a pastor, are infected with a problem which seems to plague them for many years.
A common problem that surfaces in the ministry is that of personality conflict. Let’s face it, some people are not going to sit under certain pastors. That is understandable and inevitable. Assuming the church picked the right pastor according to God’s will, people who cannot remain under a certain pastor should seek to find another church, if possible, where they can grow and mature. What usually happens, in this case of personality conflict, is a family or families campaign to remove the pastor and have the church find a new one.
Now you would think that after a pastor or two in a seven or eight year stretch would cure the problem, but it doesn’t. Many times, it is not the same people who campaign. With each cycle the players change up and the church spirals ever downward. Sometimes it is the pastor’s fault and other times it is the congregations fault. Either way, if a church rids itself of a pastor due to the campaigning of a family over conflicting personalities, then the church will likely repeat the misfortune again and again.
Another common issue in a local church which results in the perpetual search of a pastor is that of a power struggle. The question becomes, “Who is going to be the pastor?” Granted, there are many dictatorial personalities occupying the pulpits of many churches, but that is not the sole issue and not the case 100% of the time.
In ANY venue, where there are people rallying to a common purpose, there has to be order. Whether it is a little league baseball group or a business on main street, there must be an orderly chain of command and responsibility. The secular world understands this, but many of God’s people forget it. Furthermore, God has set things up so there will be the proper and orderly way of conducting the affairs in His church.
Many times I have seen churches divided and conquered by a domineering family or group who thinks they can do better than their pastor. Constant backbiting, gossiping, and numerous other sins are committed by these self-righteous people. Thinking they are doing God’s service by ridding themselves of this awful man, they, in fact, aid Satan in defeating the purposes of God for that church.
I have seen a power struggle take place numerous times and the people involved do not know or understand that they are the issue. They honestly cannot see that they are the hindrance to keeping a pastor. What’s worse, is the pastors are limited so much that they cannot overcome the issue. It is such an unfortunate circumstance.
Poor Ministry Philosophy
No matter how you slice it, philosophy of ministry has a huge impact on a congregation. With each new pastors that comes along, he will seek to project his vision and philosophy. If this happens to a congregation numerous times in a relative short span of years, then it can become a cancer in the church. This is especially true when a pastor and church are miles apart in their ideology. Even after carefully selecting a pastor, this conflict can arise.
Churches are generational. That is, it will have to reach each successive generation if it is to perpetuate. Churches are either going to be a center for ministry and a place to carry out the Biblical mandates for its existence or it will become a social club. If the ministry philosophy of a church adopts situation ethics, or begins to distance itself from its Biblical mandates, then it will soon start losing pastors. Basically, poor ministry philosophy will send a pastor down the road!
While this post has not fully expounded all of the possible reasons why some churches cannot seem to keep a pastor, it has given some common factors which fertilize this awful situation. Remember that God gives pastors to churches for many reasons. When pastors move too rapidly, then churches cannot mature as well. Consider:
(Ephesians 4:11-16Ephesians 4:11-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: in: or, into stature: or, age 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: speaking...: or, being sincere 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
WP-Bible plugin) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (KJV)
Pastors and churches have to work together to accomplish what God intends for them to do. Splits and splinters only serve to benefit Satan. Finding new leadership energized by selfish motivations will never be right! I hope that this post has mentioned something that would help a fellow Christian deal with this plague.
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A frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and workshops across North America, John Phillips served as assistant director of the Moody Correspondence School as well as director of the Emmaus Correspondence School, one of the world’s largest Bible correspondence ministries. He also taught in the Moody Evening School and on the Moody Broadcasting radio network. He and his wife, Betty, live in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Originally posted 2011-04-20 23:35:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter