Almost every ministry family will leave a church to go to the next assignment; very few stay with the same congregation for the majority of their lives. And leaving is hard—even when the ministry family leaves on good terms.
And leaving isn’t just tough on the outgoing family; the successor is often left in the wake of that pain, and the church is adjusting to new leadership.
What are some traits of pastors who don’t leave well? And what does a healthy transition look like? There are two guests weighing in on these questions for this episode of “The Glass House.” Adam Mason, who leads the counseling ministry at Houston’s First, joins Ben and Lynley Mandrell to unpack some common traits and trends he’s seen among ministry families who leave a church well and those who do not.
Phil Jett, who passed the baton to Ben as he began his first pastorate, talks about what it was like to watch a successor make significant changes to the church he had lovingly cultivated and shepherded.
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Quotes from this episode:
“Pastors who don’t leave well accept too much ownership of the church to the point they believe the church couldn’t have gotten where they are without his leadership. When pastors step into that role of owning the ministry versus leading the ministry, they are set up for grief.”
“When ministry couples don’t leave well it can feel like a divorce. There’s an animosity, bitterness, resentment. Oftentimes both sides are wounded.”
“Oftentimes the churches who have been impacted by a pastor who didn’t leave well get caught up in a cycle where the subsequent pastors don’t leave well, either. Hurt people will hurt people.”
“It’s humbling to see that people move on from us.”
In this conversation, Lynley referenced their first episode. Be sure to listen to it if you haven’t already.
Check out this recommended resource, Succession: Preparing Your Ministry for the Next Leader.
Executive Producer: Joy Allmond
Produced and Edited by: Angie Elkins Media
Original Music by: Robert Elkins
Sound Engineering by: Dale Sandberg
Art Work by: Cameron Spooner