I was talking with a pastor friend yesterday when the subject of how long I've been at the Edgerton Church came up. My association with this church has been nine years - a little over eight as the full-time pastor. My friend commented that he had read my blog and was encouraged by it. He has served for a little more than two years in an established, older church. We talked about the difficulty a pastor faces in trying to change the culture of a declining or dying church. In my previous post I listed seven things that I believe have contributed to our turn around in Edgerton.
However, one thing I left off the list was longevity. I think a lot of pastors get frustrated when they go to a church and can't implement their vision immediately. They work at a feverish pace for a year or two and then move on to what they hope will be a more receptive field. I know - I've done it!
The reality is that it takes time to change church culture. The attitude of many lay persons in the church is, "Pastors come and go." It's true. Take a look at the statistics. But the churches that experience growth, and the declining churches that experience renewal, have one thing in common - pastors who serve for a number of years in the same place.
So what's it take to hang in there for the long haul? I have some ideas, but what do you think?