Several years ago, a study by the largest denomination in the United States found a startling relationship between the length of time pastors had been in their churches and the growth or decline of those churches. Their finding? Approximately 3/4 of their growing churches were being led by pastors who had been in their church more than four years, while 2/3 of their declining churches were being led by pastors who had been in their church less than four years. Their conclusion (with which I agree): While long-term pastorates do not guarantee that a church will grow, short-term pastorates essentially guarantee that a church will not grow.

So, why do pastors leave their churches? Here are the results of a study where pastors were asked that question:

(Respondents were allowed to identify more than one reason.)

There is an unmistakable relationship between pastoral tenure and church growth. While some non-growing churches have long-term pastorates, it is almost impossible to find a growing church ...

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