Character: The Secret to Leading for the Long Term

D.L. Moody described character as “what you are in the dark.”

It comes as no surprise to anyone when I say that pastoring is hard. Pastors bear the spiritual responsibility of a church. They grow it to sustainability, help it thrive, drive the vision, and care for the culture.

I recently wrote an article for Influence Magazine on “Leading for the Long Term.” In it, I try to debunk some false facts about longevity, and share some insights on how to stick it out. I wanted to take some time here to explain how the secret to longevity and sustainability for the long haul is character.

In the midst of difficulty and stress (which pastors readily acknowledge), we have found through quantitative research that pastors are pretty resilient. We’ve worked hard over the years to debunk fake statistics suggesting otherwise.

In the article at Influence Magazine, I address the actual statistics on the longevity of pastors:

Statistically, about 1% of pastors drop out of ministry per year. 93% of Protestant pastors strongly agree that they “feel privileged to be a pastor.” Nearly 8 in 10 pastors (79%) disagree with the statement, “Being in ministry has had a negative effect on my family."

Math does not care about our feelings, and the statistics point to seeing that pastors recognize the stresses associated with their jobs, but are much more resilient than popular (church) culture gives them credit for. [LINK 1, LINK 2]

In 1988, I was ordained. In my denomination, local churches do the ordaining and hold the credentials. So, at 20, I was ordained and pretty much off to the races with little training, preparation, and mentoring. But my character was far from ready—and I want to help pastors see clearly what took me years to recognize; namely, you can't shortcut …

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from Simon Cox Blog


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