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How Long Should You Stay? The Magic Year for Ministry Success

I believe there is a relationship between the three following statistics:

1. A pastor’s most productive time usually begins in years five, six and seven;

2. The average pastoral tenure in Protestant churches is less than four years;

3. Nearly 85 percent of today’s churches are not growing.

It’s sad that the vast majority of pastors miss their most potentially fruitful — and enjoyable — years of ministry.

Remember the Apostle Paul’s wise counsel: ”So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10 The Message).  

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Charles Arn is Visiting Professor of Outreach at the new Wesley Seminary (Marion, IN). He has written twelve books in the field of congregational health and growth, including What Every Pastor Should Know (2013) and Side Door (2013).