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10 Reasons Why Small Churches Stay Small (Part 1)

2. A quick turnover of pastors.

A retired pastor who had served his last church some 30 years was supplying for a small congregation south of New Orleans. That week he told me of a discovery he made. “On Sunday afternoon, no one invited me to their home, so I had several hours to kill before the evening service. In the church office, I was reading their history and discovered that in their nearly 50 years of existence, they’ve had 22 pastors.”

He was aghast.

“Think of that,” he said. “If they had around 6 months between pastors, that means the average tenure was less than two years.”

He was quiet a moment, then said, “They didn’t have pastors. They had preachers.”

It takes at least a couple of years to become the real deal for a church, a pastor in more than name only, one who has earned the right to lead the congregation. With larger churches, the time period is more like six years.

Again, no one will promise you that keeping a pastor a long time guarantees the church will grow. But I can assure you that having a succession of short-term pastors will prevent it from growing as surely as you took a vote from the congregation to reject all expansion.