I got a call last week from a church that’s looking for a preacher, again. They wanted to know if I was interested in moving there this time or if I knew anyone “good” (their word not mine) that might be looking. Interestingly enough, they called me two years ago, and two years before that. Out of curiosity, I asked them how many preachers they’d had in the past 15 years. He said, “Nine.” Red flags went up in my head. I didn’t ask, but here are a few questions I’d be interested in knowing.

  • Why can’t this church keep a preacher?
  • Is it possible that they’ve just been unlucky and hired 9 preachers that didn’t fit in?

My guess is that there’s a leadership problem that’s causing the ministers to want to leave only a short time into their ministry. I thankfully declined and mentioned that I didn’t know anyone looking right now. If I just had a couple of “preacher enemies” I might have recommended them (ha). I’m guessing that I’ll hear back from them in a couple of years.


  • How long has your minister been on staff at your church?
  • Do you think longevity makes a difference in ministry?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
24 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stoogelover says:

    I was at my first ministry 7 years, 8 years the second one, and 15 the final place. Longevity makes a HUGE difference. Some “experts” believe a preacher only hits his stride, so to speak, after being at a church 20 years or longer. I’ll never know, but the years at Long Beach were the best anywhere … after about the first 5 years. Our preacher just celebrated his first year with this church. I think he’s there for the long run. My friend, Puckett, has been at his church over 25 years and he ain’t worth a darn!! :)

  2. Tim Archer says:

    At the church I attend, the pulpit minister has been there for almost 30 years. It makes a HUGE difference.

    I’m all for longevity, both in local work and in missions.

    Grace and peace,

  3. kim says:

    hey trey, i just caught up with your last 3 blogs. i don’t really have much to say about this one, but in regards to smorgasbord- what you described was part of my culture shock in coming back from portugal. i remember needing some chapstick and there was a whole isle at walmart dedicated to just that. i remember standing there with tears in my eyes for 30 mins wondering which one to get. it’s kind of crazy how many decisions that we have to make just on a daily basis.

    you guys look like you had a great time in red river. it made me miss the times that i had been there with you guys before. honestly, i took most of it for granted then. i would love to go back again.

    glad you’re back.

  4. Zack says:

    My dad has been the preacher at our church since 1983. I guess that is 25 years (but my math is really bad). Longevity in ministry is one of the most important things in life. People need to know your committed to be there for the long haul.
    Personally I don’t want to be a preacher, but don’t mind preaching every so often. I would rather be in Outreach and Involvement or Young Adults or some thing.

  5. Adam Gonnerman says:

    A church like that nearly did me in. I was something like number 7 in 5 years. They had someone come shortly after I resigned, and he made it 9 months. Another one is there now, but I’ve heard predictions he might not make it another 6 months.

    The day we packed the moving truck to leave, only one person came to “help.” He was the elder who had always feigned support but actually kept a whisper campaign going, polling members constantly to see what they thought about me.

    He didn’t help. He followed me around as I packed things for about 45 minutes, asking where the church could find a good minister. He left, saying he’d be back soon to help. When he returned, as we were loading up the last little items, he apologized. He meant to get back earlier, but had been tied up faxing info on the minister search to Bible colleges.


  6. TREY MORGAN says:

    Greg – I’ve heard so many good things from you about your Long Beach leadership. Makes a huge difference.

    Tim – I wonder how many “30-year” ministers there are out there? I can’t imagine.

    Kim – I miss the old Red River days too. It would be nice to go back every now and then wouldn’t it? :)

    Zack – Nothing wrong with not wanting to preach. There are plenty of areas to minister. Don’t let that old belief of “If you’re not the pulpit minister, you’re really not a minister” get you. We need ministers in every area.

    Adam – Ouch … things stink sometimes with churches. I know you and I aren’t here to beat up on them, but I always remember that churches are full of people who make mistakes (just like me). Hopefully churches that treat ministers like hired hands will change.

    I’ve been very blessed to work with two churches that are lead by great leaders. Both churches have long a reputation of ministers who have long tenures.

  7. RAN says:

    My husband has been preaching at our current congregation for 15 years, 9 years at the congregation before that. Our first congregation was for 3 years. So we are the long haul type.

    You definitely go through peaks and valleys over the years. And you question yourself often …..”is this my sign to move on”? My husband often jokes that I always have our bags packed, ready to leave. But it is good to be here long term. It’s a great congregation.

  8. Matthew says:

    I have been with Waynesboro for four years, not long but the ministry is really taking off now. Congregations that are always looking are usually always sick. It says a lot about a church as well as a minister when people stay around a long time.

  9. Tucker says:

    Our minister has been with us…wait, we don’t have a preacher. For over a year now, we haven’t had a paid preacher and guess what…IT WORKS! Our men have taken on the challenge and it has been tremendous growth. We have new people come in and just sit in amazement that the guy they just heard was different from the guy they heard last week.
    I am not saying that it is wrong to have a paid preacher, but who made that rule? I value the men who take on that challenge because they have so many to answer to and are critique far too much. It is hard to break through hearts of stone! I say, God Bless those who preach! and God Bless those who critique and maybe He will chisel away at them.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I am so glad you declined the offer…I don’t know what I would do if y’all decided to leave… you better not leave…steph

  11. blogprophet says:

    i would say longevity is the the general good, principle, rule, but the exceptions are there.

    God can use people for different periods of times for different purposes.

    even short, difficult may have a point for either the preacher or the church to accomplish or learn something.

    just two cents to think about

  12. Kyle Parker says:

    Trey –

    Our preacher has been her for…6 days now. I do hope he stays for a while. Our preivours preacher was here for 9 years and was able to do some great ministry. I have been here for 6 years now and I’m just now starting to see some of the fruits of our work here.

    I picked up someonthing when I first started ministry that I think has some merit. It goes like this: the first 1 1/2 years of ministry you can do nothing wrong, then next 1 1/2 years you can do nothing right, but somewhere after about 5 years is where true ministry begins. I know honeymoon periods and times fluctuate and change, but I found this to be a decent estimation of ministry schedules. After you build a rapport and relationships with people, I think you have the best opportunity to do ministry.

  13. Chris says:

    I am a Youth Minister and the preacher I work with has been at the church nine years…this church went through a lot of preacher’s at one point but from what I have observed he has been a good stabilizing force…I have been here a year now and it can be tough when the honeymoon ends…there are many a days where you have to look at the silver lining on the storm clouds

  14. roadtripray says:

    Well, as a methodist, preachers move around quite a bit. The congregation cannot officially kick a pastor out, only the bishop has authority to move pastors. Of course the congregation can complain, but if the complaints don’t have merit from a biblical standpoint they won’t get what they want.

    I think the calling/sending forth models each have their own merits. I like being sent because I don’t have to worry about another congregation “recruiting” me and having to wrestle with such decisions. If I am to be moved, it will be the bishop and district superintendent’s decision, although the congregation and the pastor do have a consultative role in the process.

    I think the average tenure in my conference is about 6 years, although I know many pastors who have been in place a decade or more.


  15. Emma says:

    Trey, isn’t the 12th commandment…Trey and family shall NOT leave Childress? I thought I read that somewhere….LOL….Glad you declined….LOVE LOVE LOVE your fam!

  16. preacherman says:

    When ministers have to move alot it plays a toll on the “entire family.” Having to make new friends, readjust to new enviornment, effecting trust, and other problems. I think that is why it is so important for the minister wife to have a full-time job that can pay equal to or even more than her husband. I think that can help with longevity.

  17. Paula Harrington says:

    Our preacher has been here for over 20 years and our youth minister for 10. We’re very blessed and definately have the family atmosphere. Usually folks hang around the building for 30 minutes or more after each service (even Sunday mornings sometimes) just to chat. We even take our fall breaks together. Going on a “retreat” each October.
    Just a good place to be.

  18. Paula Harrington says:

    Just think how hard it would be for John the Baptist to get a preaching job these days. With the crazy hair, honey and bug filled beard… :) He wouldn’t make it in the front door.

    Thanks for the nice comments you left on my blog. Same to ya :)

  19. wjcsydney says:

    Ours has been with the congregation 10 years. My previous church’s senior minister has been there since 1984 I think and will probably be there to retirement but that’s in the Anglican system which works differently.

  20. Jeanne M. says:

    Upon graduating from Sunset, my husband preached 5 years at his first full-time ministry, was fired because the elders wanted a change. There were four or five preachers after him before they finally got someone who was allowed to stay – change in eldership helped. At our next location, he preached for 10 years, and only left because of the costs for a new building. We felt they couldn’t afford both at the time because he was at the upper pay scale by then. That congregation has gone through six preachers since we left and don’t have one now. The last place we were there almost 12 years, and he resigned because he felt he was getting too old (70) and they would be better with a younger man. They are on their second man, and his wife is not happy so they may be leaving soon.

    Our son-in-law was in his first ministry for 17 years, and his second for almost 9, and now is in his 2nd year at the third location. He would like to think this will be a long-term relationship, but only the Lord knows for sure.

  21. Odgie says:

    Our current preacher has been here for 17 years. Our last youth minister just left after 8 years. Our children’s minister (a hire from within the congregation) has been here for 6 years. Other positions (such as outreach, young adults, worship, etc.) tend to leave quicker, due to burnout I expect.

  22. TheStraitGate says:

    I had to smile at the ‘John the Baptist’ comment – wouldn’t he be a little old? :)

    I do find it odd that some churches seem to employ a different preacher every year.

    When I was growing up – initially in the Anglican church and then the Roman Catholic church – the minister/preacher/vicar/priest normally stayed at the same church until he either retired or died.

    They always used to wear a dog collar as well :)


  23. Dawn Jenkins says:

    I think the duration of a pastor’s stay should be decided based on the health of his congregation (not numbers so to speak but the congregation’s spiritual health). I personally think our preacher is a wonderful man and beautiful administrator, but our church needs someone to get in the pulpit and preach God’s Word whether it hurts anyone’s feeling or not.

  24. a cowgirl at heart says:

    I agree with blogprophet on this one. I have had the opportunity to have some AWESOME preachers who were all about relationships in and through Jesus and not so much about the finances, maintenance, set up, etc…of the church building. They were amazing men and women of God, but He led them elsewhere for whatever reason. The time they WERE in the pulpit, they made a huge impact and our church was blessed all the more. I guess I think it just depends on the situation and reasons behind the person leaving.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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