If you've ever witnessed the turbulence of losing a long-time pastor, it's hard to believe that the church will even hold together. Most will recover in time and discover a new normal. Unfortunately, getting there is a wrenching experience leaving behind wounded pastors, scattered sheep, and a tarnished witness in the community.

But there is a better way. It begins with acknowledging the existence of individual and corporate emotions in grieving the pastoral loss. Deeply invested church members feel an organizational, spiritual, and relational deficit. Only with time can they begin to grasp the many ways in which this loss will change their lives.

Time, Process, and Expectations

Grieving is a slow process. After a person loses a spouse, we caution them not to hurry into a new relationship. Similarly, church leadership needs to resist the pressure of moving too quickly. Two years may seem like an eternity before hiring a new pastor, but it's a small price to pay for ...

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