I know what you are thinking. Like many others, you have bought into the idea, “This could never happen to me.” But the reality is that it most likely will. Your pastor will leave you for another church. Perhaps it will be the young one across town. Or it may be the established & financially secure church that just finished a building project. What about the one upstate that he just spent a week with “preaching a revival”? Studies show that average national tenure of a pastor is 3.6 years. Listen to these testimonies:
“We thought things were going so well, I mean we just finished paying the building off.”
“I was shocked, not only that he left but I couldn’t believe the church he left us for…it wasn’t even Baptist.”
“I just pulled up to the parsonage like I do every Saturday morning to make sure he’s awake, and the whole house was empty.”
Those are just a few examples of church members who were flabbergasted when they discovered their pastor had fallen into the arms of another church. It’s important you prepare yourself for this moment. I will offer a few warning signs that your pastor may be leaving you for another church.
1. The Pastor has a really good idea that he & just under 50% of the church is passionate about. Your pastor is about to become a church planter….in your town.
2. He is shaving and getting his haircut regularly again. You may even notice a hint of cologne.
3. He no longer carries the personalized bible the church bought him. You know the one that said “Pastor of so and so church”.
4. He has started studying & is preaching fresh sermons.
5. You notice bulletins from other churches sticking out of his Bible.
6. He brings up another church on a regular basis in your conversations with him. He seems smitten with what God is doing somewhere else.
7. He uses up all of his revival leave time. What you think is a revival may just be a trial sermon for a new church.
8. He hasn’t bought a new suit in years; he’s bought two in one week. The longer a pastor is at a church the more casual he dresses. Two suits in one week? He’ll probably be gone in less than a month.
9. He tells the one guy he is afraid of at church just what he thinks about him. Preachers have a kind of “bucket list”. It’s stuff they dream about doing but can’t for job security.
10. Someone stands up at the November business meeting and says “When is Pastor Appreciation Month anyway?”
11. A well dressed group of people all happen to visit your church on the same day. This is called a search committee. Your pastor is going to preach like you have never heard him preach before. Somewhere in town he’ll be having lunch with all of those visitors.
Those are just a few of the signs. Prepare yourself. Preachers come and go…but mainly they go. Rest assured that another one will come your way. He’ll be neatly groomed, smell nice, have a pressed suit and preach fresh sermons. Life will return to normal. Good things will once again happen. You will experience the joy of having a pastor….for 3.6 years anyway.