Why do pastors leave their church?

A great article this past week from Charles Arn on ‘Pastoral Longevity and Church Growth’.  According to studies, there is an undeniable relationship between pastoral tenure and church growth.  Truth is:  Many pastors leave way before the amount of time it will take them to be truly effective.  Here’s a chart showing a recent studies findings on why pastors are leaving their churches:

Here are some additional excuses Charles thinks are contributing factors:

• More money.  Human nature is always dissatisfied, however much we make.
• Conflict.  Another characteristic of human nature: conflict is anywhere there are people.
• You’re getting stale.  Commit to being a life-time learner. It will keep you and your church in touch with today’s issues.
• Greener pastures.  See Philippians 4:12.
• Boredom.  To quote Rick Warren, “It’s not about you.”
• Burn-out.  Whether you have reached that point or not, take time to retreat and renew.
• An exploratory call.  We all like to be liked. But just because a church is calling doesn’t mean God is.
• You’re out of sermons.  If that’s your reason for moving, I suggest you shouldn’t be in the ministry.
• Too much pressure.  So your next church will be without pressure?  If your motivation to move is to avoid pressure, see the response above.

I like Charles’ summary:

There is an undeniable relationship between pastoral tenure and church growth.  While most growing churches have long-term pastorates, and some non-growing churches have long-term pastorates, it is almost unheard of to find a growing church with many short-term pastorates.  Frequent change of pastors seems to negate all the other complicated ingredients that go into a church’s growth mix.

I’ve heard that it takes a pastor about 6-7 years before real change starts to really happen at a quicker pace.

What has been your experience?

Read Charles’ entire post here.


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