Small Horizontal Logo with Slogan

  • Register

A New Direction Doesn't Have to Mean a New Minister

New Direction

Elders’ jobs are not easy, especially when it comes to letting go of a minister. Elders have the responsibility of caring for every soul in their congregation, and sometimes it is necessary for them to have that difficult conversation with a minister when he is leading these people astray through his teaching or conduct or when his work is simply not contributing to the members’ spiritual growth. There are justifiable reasons for an eldership to let go of their minister, and sometimes it is in the congregation’s best interest for them to do so.

What an eldership needs to be sure of, though, is that there actually is a good reason that it is not in the congregation’s best interest to keep their current minister. For the majority of the ministers who contact us after having their emplyment terminated, this is unfortunately not the case. From our experience, the most common reason for a minister’s termination, at least for pulpit ministers, is not unsound teaching, immorality, or even ineffectiveness. It is just that the elders decided on “a new direction” for the congregation. What does that even mean?

It is not like these ministers are incompetent at their jobs. Many of these ministers have a great track record with the congregations they’ve worked with, and their resumes are quite impressive. Many of them have been at their congregations for years and have brought many people to Christ. They have a good reputation throughout the brotherhood of being effective evangelists and being able to preach biblical and relevant sermons. The reason for the “new direction” is definitely not a matter of the minister’s ability to work effectively with a congregation, so why is it that a congregation would let go of a good minister?

In many cases, this happens when a new eldership is installed. Keeping the same position through multiple elderships is considered an accomplishment among ministers. They know that if the new eldership disagrees with something about their ministry, their positions could be in danger. I have even heard it suggested that the first thing a minister should do when a new eldership takes over is to resign and reapply.

With new leadership obviously comes a new vision, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is time to clean house with your ministry team. A minister understands that a new eldership is going to change some things about his or her ministry. No rational person goes into ministry thinking that they will agree with every decision an eldership makes. They go into it with the understanding that they will be subject to the elders’ decisions just as any other member of the congregation. They go into it knowing that they are part of a team and that they may have to find some common ground with the elders and other ministers so that they can work effectively together.

It seems many elderships skip the process of trying to work with the minister and jump to letting him go. What kind of message does it send to a congregation when the eldership suddenly lets go of their minister without any apparent cause? Wouldn’t it be better to see if there is any way the elders and minister can work together despite their differences? A group of elders has to do this even within themselves to decide on a new vision for the congregation since chances are they all have different opinions about it. We all have to set aside our differences and find some common ground in order to work together as one body in Christ.

If elderships would take some time to work with their ministers after deciding on a “new direction,” whatever it may be, I think they would find that most of their ministers are not incompatible with that new direction. Your ministers are there because they love the church, and if given the chance, they would be willing to see how they could work together under the new leadership to continue to further the overall mission of the church however they can.

Understanding the Hiring Process from a Minister's...
Is It Time to Change Tradition?


No comments yet


Minister Match was kind to me, followed up really well, and tried to be as helpful as possible. I believe they give a lot of attention to the candidates and care about their part of the process.
Kerry Williams - Minister, Waterford Church of Christ
We would not have been exposed to the large number of qualified candidates without the resources and expertise of Minister Match.  The search process was very organized and accomplished very efficiently with the program and schedule provided by ...
Ken Fox - Elder, Mesa Church of Christ
I was grateful for the guidance of Minister Match through the complex and time-intensive search process. John was responsive, supportive and knowledgable. Communication was excellent and flexible around my availability as a volunteer search ...
Brandon Clark - Youth Minister Search Committee Chairman, Mesa Church of Christ
It was a great process for me. Minister Match did a good job of keeping confidentiality in collecting information, and the communication process was very clear. The staff was very easy to deal with and very helpful. Overall the experience was very ...
Joel Soumar - Youth Minister, Mesa Church of Christ
I was so happy when Minister Match reached out to me about a potential job. I consider Minister Match an answer to my prayers.
Clay Tidwell
From my standpoint as one of the elders, I can say we were pleased with the process, and feel the time and money spent was well worth it. We felt we received excellent service from your firm, and because we were among the first to use your service ...
Bob Perkins - Elder, Sunset Church of Christ
The candidate pool for our need was something we had to work to develop but Don was insistent we wait for God's guidance and let it fill up when our human nature wanted to start right away. This served us well since our best qualified candidate ...
Jon Bouley - Family Minister Search Committee Chairman, Mesa Church of Christ
I think that because of the format that was there and the process that we followed, it made us stand out to our quality group of finalists who had other lines in the water looking for opportunities. When it came time to offer our finalist the ...
Joel Shelton - Search Committee Chairman, Commerce Church of Christ
Minister Match helped us hire a new minister in half the time we took for our previous hire.  We used the Minister Match process which helped us build a consensus of what we wanted.  Minister Match's network then helped us to build an ...
Tom Long - Search Committee Chairman, South Fork Church of Christ
I strongly encourage ministers to take advantage of the expertise of the folks at Minister Match to help put together a high quality resume. They will help you identify strong points you didn't even know you have! I am extremely satisfied with the ...
Joel Shelton - Commerce Church of Christ

Contact Information

Minister Match
410 South Lowe Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501

ABC Blocks

Your congregation has just hired a minister, and it seems like they are the perfect fit. Congratulations! There is one more step to the process, though, and it is just as important as the process of finding the right minister. You might have heard people refer to how the “first hundred days” of someone’s job usually sets the tone for their entire career with that organization. The same is true with ministers. Just as your congregation is going through a major transition, so is your new minister. The first few months of a job are a stressful time, and it is the job of the elders and search committee to help your new minister through their transition.

We refer to this as the “On-Boarding Stage.” Since the “first hundred days” is so important to the rest of a minister’s career with your congregation, we believe this stage is one of the keys to reducing minister turnover in the church. In this post, we want to talk about a few of the things that a new minister needs from their congregation during this transition period. We will refer to them as the ABC’s of the On-Boarding Phase.