The Challenges of Following a Long-term Pastor

June 21, 2016
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Podcast Episode #235


Discussion about challenges that are related to following a long-term pastor. We see this often in other walks of life such as sports and coaching changes. So we shouldn’t be too surprised that it is an issue in the church as well.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • As a general rule, a long-term pastor who leaves a church needs to stay away and give the new pastor time to grow into the role.
  • Funerals and weddings are indicators of who you want closest to you when it comes to clergy.
  • It takes about five to seven years after a long term pastor leaves for the new pastor to be seen as the pastor.
  • If a pastor has been at a church longer than seven years, the chances of the successor having a short term pastorate are high.
  • I would never go to a new church as pastor without talking with the previous pastor first.

Eight challenges to consider when following a long-term pastor are:

  1. Will the previous pastor stay at the church and community?
  2. Being compared to the previous pastor.
  3. When the previous pastor is called on to do weddings and funerals.
  4. Five years to forget.
  5. Often the successor is the interim.
  6. The search committee typically does not understand the dynamics.
  7. Have a heart-to-heart conversations with the previous pastor.
  8. Honor the previous pastor.

Episode Sponsors

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Resources Mentioned in Today’s Podcast