The average protestant pastor in the United States has a tenure of less than four years. Having spent over 35 satisfying years with the same congregation, I thought it would be interesting to explore what makes a long-term pastorate work.
I've just spent a wonderful hour with a dear Australian brother who has given his lifetime to preaching the gospel and teaching others to do so (no name dropping here!). He made an observation, almost in passing, that really grabbed my attention. "It doesn't matter", he said, "if people don't remember your sermons. Preaching is about making actions instinctive, not giving you more head knowledge." He went on to say that he's a good reader, but doesn't remember being taught to read. He can play the piano but remembers very little about his tuition. He knows how to ride a bike, but can't recall the moment when the stabilisers were taken off.How true and how liberating! We are tempted, I would suggest, to measure our ministry in terms of how much people can remember of it. And when people say to us "I remember your three points" we get a inward glow. But in fact, the measure of God's word preached is whether people change and if spiritual habits that were unnatural become the norm, become instinctive. We need to pray that our preaching would be effective and not so much that it would be memorable.It doesn't matter if people don't remember your sermons.
http://danbouchelle.blogspot.com/2012/05/so-you-are-angry.htmlWhile I don’t fully understand my anger, here is my current best shot at explaining it. I am angry because I couldn’t force the church to live up to my image of what it should be even when they implemented most of the changes I wanted. I am angry because I thought I had a contract with God: if I did ministry the right way, he would make me feel successful and fulfilled. I am angry because I could not shake the feeling of failure when I was doing everything I knew to do and I could not get the church to post the measurables I needed to validate my ministry. I am angry because the church I was building was too much a figment of my imagination detached from sustainable reality. I loved the people in my church and I enjoyed ministry with them. But, as a congregation—which is an abstraction in many ways—I could not reconcile what was with what should be. I am angry because other preachers who used what I thought were inferior approaches to serve inferior visions saw their churches grow while mine was plateaued or declining. I am angry because I could not solve the problem of church, as if churches are problems to be solved instead of people to be loved and developed. I am angry because I looked to my ministry for self-validation instead of modeling self-denial. I am angry because I wasn’t willing to obey what I heard God calling me to do and trust the outcomes to him instead of expecting something specific in return.No wonder I have wanted to deny my anger. It is ugly. But there it is. Why say it out loud? Why reveal this online? Am I now an exhibitionist? Am I trying to get attention in some sick way? Perhaps. I hope not. I just think it needs to be said. I think those of us who have gotten seduced into being career minded, if only in part, even when we wouldn’t admit it to God or ourselves, need to repent and fess up. I think we need to stop blaming the church for our immature emotional issues. The church does not need to face enemies within when it has a huge challenge without. I also want to warn other preachers to avoid a path that can lead to their undoing. Watch your expectations. We are called to a cross, not a crown. We are called to serve the Lord through the church. The church isn’t here to take care of our emotional needs.So you are angry? Well, you might want to do something about that. That road goes to a bad place.