Anyone who has stayed at a growing church for more than 15 years knows that several things are inevitable.

  1. Sooner or later you will hit burnout. I did my 10th year. It was so severe that I told my board I wanted to quit. Instead they sent me off for a three-month sabbatical. It was the best thing they ever did. I came back with a renewed vision, and the church exploded with growth.
  2. Anyone who stays more than ten years in a growing church has experienced moments when it became necessary to grow through a size barrier.  Growing through a size barrier (passing 500 or 1,000 in worship, for example) means that someone or something has to change. Furthermore, it’s almost certain that the lead pastor has to change. The change required depends on the size barrier the church needs to break through.  Often staff cannot make enough adjustment to grow through more than one barrier so it is rare for a staff to stay intact from 0 to 1,000 in worship.
  3. Finally, anyone who stays long realizes that making time for family is essential even if it has to be scheduled into the calendar.

Staying long-term at a church is the best way to grow a large church and make an impact on the community and for the Kingdom. If you have never stayed anywhere more than eleven years, I challenge you to do so. Eleven is a magical number.

Question: What are the biggest lessons you learned from your longest pastoring position? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.

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