Why should I pastor the same church for a long time?
I continue to observe a disturbing pattern that exists among my generation of pastors. The propensity to feel called to be the shepherd of a congregation and inside three years find they no longer feel “called” there anymore. Let me first say, I recognize there are many good and understandable reasons for a pastor to leave his church, even after only being there a short time. Nevertheless, the most common reason I have observed is an unrealistic expectation that exists in that pastor’s mind of what they think should be accomplished in the first few years. When that is not achieved, they get discouraged, think the church is hopeless, and leave.
I received an email this week from a man who had been discipled by Curtis Thomas, a man who pastored 50 years who I quoted in an earlier post. May this man’s words about Curtis’s enduring and faithful pastoral ministry combat that desire you may be feeling as you evaluate your church at the 2.5 year mark and you are ready to call it quits:
It was great to run across your blog. The posts that I read show a true shepherd’s heart. Curtis Thomas not only showed us the way of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, he discipled us. He held me the day I was born. He was with me when I killed my first deer. He pronounced my wife and I to be married in the sight of the Lord. He was with me when my (6) children were born. He stood alongside me as my father died, and we both preached the Gospel at his funeral. And I had the privilege of teaching and evangelizing with him in south-east Asia. All this to say; be a shepherd like him. The impact on three generations of my family is absolutely the most profound influence we have received aside from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Truly making disciples means a lifelong commitment, and I am just one example. So I encourage you, as you pastor, to imitate this type of disciple making with your people.
Dear brothers and friends, let us heed these honest and profound words from this brother who represents the divine fruit of a long, faithful, and enduring pastoral ministry. May you be challenged, encouraged, and inspired as I was to “Be a shepherd like him.”