It has been my observation that churches and preachers do better when there is a long ministry. When they are effective, they get to know each other and the community. They can build relationships that are mutually beneficial.
I have had the opportunity to visit where the preacher has been at the same congregation for more than a decade. I have had that situation more than once in my years of ministry.
But at some time, that ministry in that place with that preacher is going to end. I think it is helpful when all involved realize that, talk about it, and plan for the transition.
One of the frequent ways I hear people dealing with that reality is denial. "We love our preacher. He has been with us twenty-five years and he is never going to leave." "Our preacher is also an elder. He doesn’t want to leave and he has job security."
The preacher is leaving. I have known preachers who have been at a church for many years, felt secure, and suddenly found out they were leaving. I have known preachers who also served as elders who left—sometimes by their choice, at other times not by their choice.
Next month, I plan to tell you how he is going to leave.