At five years, though, he is just the baby among us. With regard to our Pastoral staff, the average tenure at our Church is now over ten years; and that does not include factoring in our Senior Adult Pastor. His tenure alone is almost 35 years!
I praise the Lord for all of this, because I know that not every Church is so blessed. Moreover, as a Southern Baptist, I serve in the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with over 45,000 churches. Yet, sadly, the average Pastoral tenure is just over 36 months per Church. And that has grown from what it once was at a mere 24 months!
We all know that few things are as miserable as trying to wear a shoe that does not fit. By the same token, after a brief breaking-in period, when the shoe does fit the foot, it is a beneficial situation for all parties involved. With regard to the Pastoral staff, I am thankful to serve a Church where the shoe fits the foot.
If you are blessed to be part of a Church like this, be sure to thank the Lord for it. And share a word of appreciation to your Pastoral staff as well. It will surely mean a lot to them.
Of course, the fact that not all Churches are so blessed can be attributed to any number of reasons. As the old saying goes: "There will always be a few bad apples in every bucket." Unfortunately, a few charlatans among Pastors can give the rest a bad name. And I might add that the same can be said for Churches. For my part, I would certainly rather have served at Ephesus than at Corinth!
It goes without saying, in light of all these things, that the process whereby a Pastor is selected is vitally important. Doing due diligence in seeking a Pastor can prove very beneficial in the long run - for both a Church and a Pastor. Conversely, a lack of diligence can also prove costly. Consider the following I came across recently…
Report from the Pastor Search Committee:*
We do not have a happy report to give. We have not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect. Thank you for your suggestions. We have followed up on each one with interviews or by calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report.
ADAM: Good man but has problems with his wife. One reference told us how he and his wife enjoyed walking nude in the woods.
NOAH: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects.
JOSEPH: A big thinker, but a braggart; believes in dream interpreting and has a prison record.
MOSES: A modest and meek man, but a poor communicator; even stutters at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly in business meetings. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge.
DAVID: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor's wife.
SOLOMON: Great preacher, but a serious woman problem.
ELIJAH: Prone to depression; collapses under pressure.
HOSEA: A tender and loving pastor; but our people could never handle his wife's occupation.
JONAH: Told us he was swallowed up by a great fish. He said the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.
AMOS: Too much of a country hick. Backward and unpolished. With some seminary training, he might have promise; but he has a hang-up against wealthy people.
JOHN: Says he is a Baptist, but doesn't dress like one. May be too Pentecostal. Tends to lift both hands in the air to worship when he gets excited. You know we limit to one hand. Sleeps in the outdoors, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.
PETER: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper; even said to have cursed. He's a loose cannon.
PAUL: Powerful CEO type and fascinating preacher. However, he's short on tact, unforgiving with young ministers, harsh, and has been known to preach all night.
TIMOTHY: Entirely too young.
JESUS: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5000, He managed to offend them all; and then His church dwindled down to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, He is single.
JUDAS: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We're inviting him to preach this Sunday in view of a call.
And we wonder why so many Churches and Pastors have conflicts!
*SOURCE. Found widely in many variations on the internet. Cf. for instance: http://javacasa.com/humor/pastor.htm.