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8 Surprising Insights From a Former Pastor

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Time away from the pastorate reveals these powerful insights.

I’ve served in the local church as a pastor for over 32 years, yet for the past year, I’ve not served in an official pastoral role. After seven and a half wonderful years at a church in Aurora, IL, I left to accomplish several goals that I couldn’t have if I were on staff at a church.

Because my passion lies in the local church, however, I believe I will soon pastor another church as I’m now in conversations with those showing interest.

Yet, this past year has proved invaluable in teaching me insight about what it’s like not being a pastor.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

As you read, ask yourself if any of these are true of you.

1. I allowed my identity to get too wrapped up in being a pastor. 

As a pastor, I told myself to guard against this. But not being one has allowed me to truly see it from the “other side of the aisle,” and see how easy it is to replace my identity in Christ with my identity as a pastor.

2. I found that I liked being noticed by others as a pastor.

In my new church where we’ve joined, although I’ve preached a couple of times, when church people meet me they just see a regular person, not a pastor. However, when I was a pastor, people instantly recognized me.

It’s tempting to enjoy recognition too much. I hope when I begin serving again as a senior pastor, I won’t forget this lesson.

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Charles Stone

Charles Stone

Dr. Charles Stone is Lead Pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada, and the founder of StoneWell Ministries, a pastor coaching and church consulting ministry. He is the author of four books including, "People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership" (IVP 2014), and his most recent book, “Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry” (Abingdon, May 2015).

Charles on ChurchLeaders   Charles's Website

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