Charles R. Blaisdell, Regional Minister-President
Some Observations on Long-Term Pastorates
based on material from
New Visions of the Long Pastorate by Roy Oswald
Restoring the Vow of Stability by Richard Brown
(as adapted by Chuck Blaisdell)
Potential Benefits of the Long-Term Pastorate
- An opportunity for deeper ministry... cumulative development of
relationships... a "family leader" instead of a "temporary guest."
- More effective pastoral leadership based on high trust levels
- The congregation can be stabilized for ministry (program development
suffers from high leadership turnover)
- The congregation can be stabilized for growth. Church growth
consultant Lyle Schaller notes that "it is rare to find a growing congregation that
has sustained its growth over a long period of time that has not had the benefits of both
long pastorates and an adequate program staff" (The Multiple Staff and the
Larger Church, p. 57).
- The pastor can experience personal growth and increasing
satisfaction. Keeps growing and learning instead of repeating the experience (and the
sermons) of the previous congregation.
- The pastor and family can settle down and develop roots in the
community. More chance for the pastor to be a significant influence in the larger
Potential Pitfalls of the Long-Term Pastorate
- Over-identification between clergy and congregation can lead to a
loss of effective leadership role.
- Developing gap between pastor and some segments of the congregation.
Danger of pastor only working with and relating to one small group of trusted folks.
- Possible clergy burnout... possible downward spiral... loss of
energy... sense of being "stuck together."
- Potential of reduced personal benefits for the pastor and family
including appropriate financial considerations.
- Potential loss of a sense of challenge.