Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What to Do (and What Not to Do) When Your Pastor Move On

I heard from another pastor recently whose exit from his church went sideways. He and his wife believed the Lord had called them to step down from their current position and serve in another location, and after several years of (by all accounts) successful ministry, he believed he was resigning on good terms. He knew his news would be a surprise to his congregation, but he was not prepared for the depth of hurt feelings and anger his departure would stir up. And what should have been a bittersweet parting of ways turned into a sad limping away.

His story isn’t rare. And it’s quite a fascinating—if depressing—phenomenon. I’ve heard from more than a few ministers who’ve resigned on good terms—no moral failings, no being forced out, no ethical impropriety, no significant ministerial failure or exacerbating conflict in the church—and yet found themselves surprised and hurt by their congregation’s handling of their exit. We sometimes expect pastors leaving under bad terms to leave a bad taste in the church’s mouth, but we don’t really think about what can go wrong when an otherwise good pastor leaves under otherwise good circumstances.

If you’ve got a good pastor, now is the time to think about this. He may not leave any time soon (or ever!), but preparing your heart now for a statistically common reality can help prevent plenty of heartaches in the future—for you and for them. Here are some things the church ought to do if and when their pastor resigns under good circumstances.... Read More

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