See our full Pastor's Resource Library  Browse >

Should a pastor have contact with his former congregation in the same community?

Help me with an ethical question. Should a pastor who has moved churches in the same community continue to have dinners, coffee and camping trips with members of his former congregation?

ANSWER: If I understand you correctly, your former pastor moved only a short distance away from your church and is now pastoring another church.

When a pastor leaves a congregation, the congregation actually goes through a grieving process similar to when a person has a death in the family. If the former pastor doesn't move far away, this grieving process doesn't happen as it should.

Perhaps more importantly, if a former pastor is still spending time with people from his former church, the new pastor won't be able to pastor effectively.

No, a former pastor should not be spending time with people in his former church.

Comments for Should a pastor have contact with his former congregation in the same community?

Click here to add your own comments

Contact with former pastor
by: Anonymous

I feel you should be able to keep in contact with your former pastor as long it's not church related but a friendship.

No he shouldn't, at least for a time
by: Anonymous

If the Pastor remains in the same community and merely changes churches it is a recipe for problems in the church. Whether the former Pastor tries to pull people from the previous church or not, it will happen. In order for this to work there must be extreme sensitivity on the part of the previous Pastor and full agreement from the former church. If the former Pastor so much as says, "Stop by and visit our new church sometime." it can be taken as an attempt to pull people from his former church. The best case scenario is for the former Pastor to move on to a different community and in rural settings that may mean 50 miles away.

I disagree
by: Stephen M Young II

It certainly does take wisdom and skill to go about it the right way, but the relationship between the pastor and his brothers and sisters in Christ, many who may have become good friends has merely changed. It has not ended.

The pastor did not die. If he has left on good terms, he will continue to pray for his spiritual brothers and children. He will continue to be a part of their lives. The only thing that has ended is his relationship to the organization.

Care must be taken to establish healthy boundaries, just like in any relationship change, but it would just be plain wrong to sever all ties. That is cruelty. (I cared about you, but I am not allowed to anymore.)

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Questions and Answers.

Was this page helpful? Add a link to your page or blog.

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.