Preachers and ministers in the churches of Christ have always been movers. I read once that church of Christ ministers move on average about once every 3 years. Personally, I’m glad I’ve hung around in my ministries longer than average.
The worst part of ministers moving is when they have to move because they’ve been asked to leave or got fired. Growing up, I don’t remember a lot of preachers getting fired. Nor do I remember any ugly splits or church fights when the preacher left. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen more of the bad side of preachers moving. I’ve seen ministers quit due to their frustrations with their current job, and I’ve seen preachers fired for numerous reasons, and yes, sadly there have been some ugly splits and fights.
The part that makes me sad is that these days I see many good preacher/church relationships end due to nothing more than church politics over little things that don’t really matter. When you combine the church politics with some ugly old pride, look out, because those two things combined make for some horrible church explosions.
Thankfully, to this point I’ve never been fired. I have left churches for new challenges and new ministries, but thankfully the leaving has always been on “good terms.” I’m proud of that fact. The few times that I’ve moved, I’ve never burned bridges or left the church with a bad taste in their mouth. But speaking honestly, I do feel that if I’m in ministry long enough (20 years to this point), there’s a good chance that there will come a day when I screw up royally, leave a church under bad circumstances or quit due to frustrations. While I pray that never happens, I do know that it can.
In a recent Lifeway magazine study, they came up with the top ten reasons preachers/pastors get fired. I noticed right off that the one reason that gets all the attention (sexual misconduct) is thankfully way down the list. Here’s the list…
- 1. Control Issues (who should run the church)
- 2. Poor people skills
- 3. Church’s resistance to change
- 4. Minister’s leadership style (too strong or too weak)
- 5. Decline in attendance and/or conditions
- 6. Conflict with other staff
- 7. Disagreement over doctrine
- 8. Ethical misconduct
- 9. Sexual misconduct
- 10. Poor work ethic (lazy)
- In your lifetime, why have you seen ministers/preachers leave?
- Does anything about this list surprise you or not surprise you?
- I’d be curious to know from others in ministry, how important is it to you when looking for a church to work with, to find one that has a history of keeping ministers for a long time?