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20 More Reasons Your Pastor Might not Finish Well 40 Years from Now

For 20 years PLI has been a big fan of pastors and their spouses! We’re eager to invest in them, to see their congregations vital and reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus.

It might seem counter-intuitive to make a list of 20 reasons your pastor may not finish well 40 years from now and to add 20 more this week, but simply put…

When leaders change for the better, churches get better. And, when leaders can put a name on how to develop and lead themselves better, they have the ability to do something about it.

Like last week, if you’re a leader but not a pastor, many of these will still be applicable to you.

Here are 20 more reasons you might get derailed and lose the wild adventure and challenge of ministry.

  1. Inability to trust God in hostile and uncertain mission field territory. Like Abraham, sent to a foreign land. Like Daniel, exiled. 
  2. Bad staff decisions.
  3. False doctrine.
  4. No rhythms of spiritual refreshment and growth. (Read Maintaining Work from Rest in a Busy Fall.)
  5. Called as a shepherd teacher when the congregation needs a missionary leader.
  6. No training in congregation turnaround.
  7. The people inside the congregation look different (older, whiter, etc.) than the people outside the congregation. People inside the church like the way things are and people outside the church ignore the church because of the way things are. (Read 4 Ways to Keep Your Church a Fort.)
  8. No source of income when the church can no longer pay your salary.
  9. Inability to celebrate and end well a once valuable ministry or program that has outlived its purpose or failed to adapt to its new realities. (Read Necessary Endings.)
  10. Inability to navigate the clumsy, emotion-driven, muddled middle of discovering what comes next after a necessary ending.
  11. Talking past people that resist change because of the unknown they fear in front of them. 
  12. Talking past people that resist change because they grieve the loss of what they’ve valued. 
  13. Trying to lead people who have lost the sense of adventure of following Jesus and fulfilling his mission.
  14. Never recognizing that you have little control of outcomes and trusting God to work in ways you haven’t asked for or imagined. 
  15. Neglecting your body… eating, exercise, sleep, rest. When your body stops working your ministry stops working, too.
  16. Trying to please people when you need to lead people. 
  17. Forgetting how to play and have fun. (Read Why Not Sneak Fun in the Back Door.)
  18. Neglecting your spouse, your marriage, your kids.
  19. Never loving the people, or the community, where you’ve been called to serve. 
  20. Ceasing to grow as a leader.

So, like last week…

  1. Pick 2 that are strengths for you. You’re doing well.
  2. Pick 1 that can’t be put off. The bell has sounded. It’s time to change.
  3. What if you took this list, and last week’s, too, to the elders and used it as a tool to collaborate around your growth and well being?

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One Response

  1. Brilliant, as always, Jock. You’ve struck a perfect balance in your list(s) between the wellbeing of the leader and the wellbeing of the ministry. Inseparable!

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