10 Things to Help You Stay Longer Than the Average Pastor

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This may be the most important article I have ever written.

The Barna Group reported in a 2009 study that senior pastors of mainline churches have an average tenure of only four years. One of the reasons cited for such a brief stay is that while 93 percent of all pastors claim to be leaders, only 12 percent claim to have the spiritual gift of leadership. 

You can read the full article by clicking here.

The epidemic of pastors leaving their churches, regardless of the reason, is an issue that must be addressed. However, since I have never been a senior pastor, I wanted someone with credibility to speak into this issue.

Dr. Brian Stowe accepted the position of senior pastor of Maysville (Ga.) Baptist Church in 1997. For the past 16 years, he has led this great church with integrity and excellence. I have visited their church on a couple of occasions, and was immediately impressed with the love that exists between this pastor and his congregation.

I felt impressed to ask Brian, in the current Christian culture of short-term pastorates, what has he done that has allowed him to have such a long tenure at this church.

His incredibly insightful answers are something all Christian leaders need to hear.

1. An Awesome Spouse

I did not expect this to be his #1 answer. Brian’s wife, Bonnie, provides him with incredible support.

She keeps the balance between his work and home life. Bonnie also ensures Brian gets proper rest. Also, because he has such a balanced life, she can then release him during busy seasons of the church to be there more often.

2. Support Staff

The Maysville staff, led by business administrator Robert Dial, are flexible and patient. Brian and I laughed when he said, “Sometimes when I want to do something, they just scratch their heads and then say, ‘Let’s get it done.’”

That is a mark of a great church staff.

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Brian Dodd
Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.

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