Sacrificial Lamb Syndrome (Part Two)
After a period of healing, Pastor Grant returned to fruitful pastoral ministry, proving that he really was all of the wonderful things that First Church originally believed him to be. But it's hard to see clearly when we haven't yet wiped the tears from our eyes. He was the right guy at the wrong time, trying to follow in the footsteps of a pastoral legend before the church was ready for transition.
There is a better way, for the health of the church and the health of the pastor. Shepherding the people of God through profound losses prepares them to embrace new possibilities. If you are preparing to leave your church after many years of service, train the church to handle your absence well. If you are called to replace a long-term pastor, check if the congregation has properly grieved before instituting major changes. As the author of Ecclesiastes writes, there is a time to hold on and a time to let go. Wise leadership helps people discern the difference.
Mike Fleischmann is pastor of GracePointe Church in Milwaukie, Oregon. He blogs at MikeFleischmann.net
* Read Part One of "Sacrificial Lamb Syndrome."
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.