Should a retiring Pastor stay in the church he just retired from?

Our Pastor is retiring after 30+ years, serving the same congregation. He & his wife (very used to "running things")plan to stay in the area (the church has gifted them the parsonage). IS IT ADVISABLE FOR HIM TO ATTEND THE CHURCH HE IS RETIRING FROM? Many feel this would be unfair to the new Pastor coming in... not allowing him freedom to make changes with the previous Pastor & his wife still in the congregation.


Would appreciate any input you might have!

Comments for Should a retiring Pastor stay in the church he just retired from?

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It's tough to have dual pastors
by: Anonymous

I'm in that tough situation of following a pastor of 27 years who still lives in the parsonage. He was asked to step down but never had to even give up his keys. He actually was in my office at least once until we changed the locks. Our church was on the verge of financial collapse and we were able to avoid that. We are trying to undergo revitalization but his influence in the church is very strong. We have had 17 baptisms in our first year, and half of those were over 30. Yet with all this, the previous pastor has influence and sometimes I wonder if our church has two pastors. The funny thing is, he is supplying at another rural church. I do all the visiting and setting with the dying members, in the end, he is asked to do the funerals and I usually find out second hand. I will tell you as long as our church is living in the past, it will be tough to revitalize. In the end, if I was told the previous pastor was asked to leave and was allowed to stay, I would never have come.

NO ! He needs to leave permanently or at least temporarily
by: Anonymous

Should a retiring Pastor stay in the church he just retired from? NO.

In 40 years of ministry I have never personally witnessed or heard of a successful transition resulting when a long-term pastor remains after having officially resigned. It causes problems...period. Read the other posts...the horror stories.

Church members are still human, they're still sinful by nature even if they are genuine Christians and will tend to gravitate to this former long-term minister.

The resigning pastor should learn to step out of the way by faith and understand that the church does NOT belong to him. He should not be stubborn, selfish or insensitive.

Pastor Disaster
by: Anonymous

We made the grave mistake of thinking we could bring in a young 32 year old assistant pastor with the 82 year old senior pastor's mentoring. The senior pastor's wife has gone off the rails, orchestrating a slander campaign against the new pastor and his wife. If we had the foresight we would've sent the elderly pastor and his entire family away for at least 1 year.

Please Do Not Stay
by: Anonymous

Pastors retiring need to move on to the next season in their life. Their season of pastoring a particular church is over. A new pastor needs to begin his season God has called him to. Church members get attached to their pastor and become comfortable talking to him. When a retiring pastor remains in the congregation many members will continue to seek council from him and that is not fair to the new pastor. I would also recommend any associate staff that are long time staffers of the retiring pastor change churches as well. The longer they have been there the more tendency they have to 'advise' the incoming pastor on how 'we do things'.

I'm the new pastor
by: Pastor Joe

I'm the new guy at our small rural church. The former pastor (the founder of the congregation) retired due to health reasons. We worked for several months to make a smooth transition, and he took about two months away from the church before coming back. He is good friends with many of the families in the church, and his own family is heavily involved in the ministries within the church.

I notice that people still will go to him, not because he was their pastor, but because he is their friend. I can't imagine this would change if he wasn't attending, and it's possible many of these families would follow to wherever he would end up if he left the church.

It can be frustrating at times, but if we are truly called to pastor, I believe God will use us. It may be difficult to watch people continue to go to the old pastor, but I'm encouraged to take the same amount of time and care to build relationships as he did over the 16 or so years since he founded the congregation.

A lesson learned the hard way!!!
by: Anonymous

I have just taken my first church and have made the utter mistake of asking the former associate, who was the acting pastor as they searched for a new pastor,to be my associate right off the bat. This has all but ruined our friendship and created the worst 2 years of my christian experience. People have gone to him out of habit, he continually tries to correct a thing or two about what I see as bible, he has dug in as the maintenance man and has such a "little man" complex all he does is brag his insight up and comes across as high and mighty. Don't get me wrong, he means the best intentions and everyone loves him (so to speak), yet his presence is destroying me, my push to do anything worthwhile, and has caused damage to my marriage as I seem to complain about it weekly (at least). If I knew this info before I would have asked him to leave for at least 1 year. The only thing good about this is he's a good musician and it's great to have him there if I can't be at church anytime.

David, about to retire--READ THIS!
by: Anonymous

Do not stay. Your comments include many shoulds. You would be a nightmare for the next pastor if you think you know best how he SHOULD do HIS calling. It's his not yours. Go, go, go.

No, based on personal experience
by: pastor's wife

My husband agreed to allow the former pastor to rejoin the congregation. It was a huge mistake. Over the 6 years of his ministry, the former pastor and his wife have been openly critical and have stirred up dissension behind the scenes. It has been a nightmare. They still act as thought they are in charge and know what's right and wrong and best for the church. It has undermined my husband's authority among the membership. We have no recourse except to leave because calling them out would create chaos in the church. Never, ever again, no matter how nice he seems in the beginning.

The out going Pastor should 'let go' and stay.
by: David

I am a pastor just about to retire and was wandering what to do after. stay in the church or move to another. you know there is this thing of family attachment we are all aware of, how do i just cut myself from my family? Certainly this will affect myself, my wife and my children. In my case I have been working with my Associate Pastor for now two years and slowly by slowly have been relinquishing most of my duties to him. It has been a smooth relationship. He is doing most of the work. I have actually been working myself out of the job. I see many people go to him instead of coming to me because over time i keep telling them to go to him and consult with him over the matter. i think the main problem comes when the retiring pastor still holds on to people, to the office and to the accounts, that is, wants to maintain control over the affairs of the church. We need to be willing to 'let go' so that the incoming pastor can find soft landing ground. also the incoming pastor should not rock the church too much by introducing a lot of change, trying to sort of trash all that the outgoing pastor was doing, giving an impression that the outgoing pastor was not good enough. The new pastor should be sensitive in introducing change. He should introduce changes slowly so that he gets everybody on board. I think handling transition like this could enhance stability and growth of the church.

Needs to leave.
by: Anonymous

In most churches and denominations I know, protocol rightly insists that the retiring pastor leave for at least a year until the new pastor can get established as the clear unchallenged shepherd of God's people.

Some will naturally prefer the old to the new and seek counsel from the prior pastor when changes make them uncomfortable. Removing the prior pastor, though painful for a time, ultimately makes the transition easier for everyone and increases the likelihood that people will accept the new pastor and his vision for the church. This is probably even more true when the retiring pastor has been in place for a long time.

Later, if both men consult and agree, the prior pastor may be welcomed back to support and enhance the ministry of the new pastor.

Jesus' disciples were upset when He said He was going to leave them. They wanted Him to stay. He refused their wishes, knowing that the Father had something better in store for them which included His departure. "I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away..." (John 16:7).

Similarly, a retiring pastor does well to decline requests from supporters to stay with them. His departure helps secure the future success of the incoming pastor, securing also the future unity and fruitfulness of the church they both love.

Absolutely Not!!!!
by: Anonymous

I am living this nightmare. I am the new pastor and this church has had three pastors since the old pastor retired in 2008. Everyone of the former ministers privately complained of the situation and now I understand why. Just trust me. Don't take a position at a church if the former minister is still there!

Out with the old with love
by: Anonymous

No the retiring pastor should leave for a time so that the new pastor can establish their own understandings and relationships. The old and the new pastors might get along fine but the congregation may have a blurred understanding of roles that each one plays. Also congregation might try to divide the two because of changes that will occur. Statements like...That's not how Pastor did it.." can be tough enough without the old pastor there.

Retiring Pastor
by: Margaret Dunnigan

If the pastor and his wife are sensitive to the new pastor - then by all means they should stay. However, it might be a good idea to take a sabbatical until the new pastor is established. If the outgoing pastor handles the introduction of the new pastor. If he decides to stay, he must make it plain to the congregation that he is no longer the pastor. It can be a great experience, but it depends on the outgoing pastor.

Should a Pastor retiring stay at same church.
by: Anonymous

I think in most cases he can and should be made welcome to stay in his home church. There's nothing worse than feeling you must leave because you are no longer the pastor. That's like him being rejected if he stays. My husband went back into evangelizing after pastoring for eight years. I, as his wife, had to, at times, lovingly whisper to him when I knew he was going to do something out of habit. Sometimes it only took me reaching over and squeezing his hand with a smile as I gently shook my head no. In our situation, our son replaced his dad as Pastor and his style is completely different so at home we spoke of how we need to take a back seat and let our son earn the church's respect and attention his own way. My husband slips up at times but our son handles it well. Maybe your church needs to make sure he knows he's welcome to stay and the new pastor should handle anything else while the church prays for this retiree. I wish you the best. :)

Should a retiring Pastor stay in the church he just retired from?
by: Lady Fay

I believe that the former Pastor should be allowed to stay, because he and his family are members of that local assembly and though his assignment has changed, God has not cast him away- so why should the local body. The former Pastor can serve as an experienced mentor to the new Pastor as well as the former First Lady can nurture the new Pastor's Wife and when and if God plants them in another assembly, there will be no hard feelings.

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