Jump directly to the Content

Sacrificial Lamb Syndrome (Part Two)

How to succeed a popular pastor—and survive.

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 ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
A Good Exit Strategy
A Good Exit Strategy
What to do on your way out.
From the Magazine
What Comes After the Ex-Gay Movement? The Same Thing That Came Before.
What Comes After the Ex-Gay Movement? The Same Thing That Came Before.
Old-school evangelical leaders once knew the value of “care” over “cure.”
Editor's Pick
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
We have a unique opportunity to reset, pivot from old patterns, and look afresh at the future.
close