How To Know The Pastor Is Getting Fired: A Primer

Thom S. Rainer, the CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources recently posted an article about the "Eight Warning Signs For Forced Terminations of Pastors."  His list is compiled through the combined research of the National Congregations Study and the Review of Religious Research.

Rainer states, "...this research does not tell the why of terminations; rather it deals with certain categories where pastors are more likely to lose their jobs."

So let's get to it, and see what you think.  Here are the indicators that will let you know that the Pastor is going to "get sacked," as our friends in the British Isles would so eloquently put it:

1. If the church had a recent church fight.
     (I guess if you show up as a new pastor and there's a boxing ring in the  
     Fellowship Hall, you know you'll be leaving sooner rather than later)

2. If the church is declining in attendance.
     (I get this, church members tend to blame pastors---even if it's not completely 
     their fault---for declining attendance, which is a scary sign that things are 

3. If the pastor's sermon lasts between 11 and 20 minutes.
      (I remember being TAUGHT in seminary that the sermon should be no longer 
      than 20 minutes.  My sermons tend to be 26-28 min on average, so my people 
      are getting their money's worth! But then again, I'm half a Baptist.)

4. If your church has almost no men.
      (I have actually read this before.  However, I know that some church leaders 
       have taken this statistic to the extreme and have swung into a severe form of 
      male chauvinism and machismo evangelism.  I won't mention any names.)

5. If the pastor is a woman.
     (I wish this weren't true for the sake of my sisters in ministry, but I am afraid 
      that it might be.)

6. If the pastor is young.
     (Again, I wish this weren't true... but I fear it is.)

7. If the congregation is old.
     (I know that this might lend itself to some "Duh!" comments, but I think what 
      this is referring to is a congregation that either is not at all intergenerational 
      or perhaps not enough to make a difference)  

8. If a slight majority of the congregation is poor.
     (This was a head scratcher for me... I am not sure what to do with it) 

You can read the whole article HERE.

How does this study strike you?  What bothers you about it?  Do you think it's true?


  1. I was surprised not to see a budget shortfall related reason.


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