As I have studied the decline of churches and how to restore them to health one theme has reappeared over and over again. Healthy churches tend to have long term pastors. This is one of those symbiotic relationships (google symbiotic). Certainly healthy churches will hold on to pastors longer than contentious churches, but pastors who stay have the opportunity to lead their church to long term health.
I have heard the expectations for the Faulks. Several people have told us that they expect us to move on once I get my Doctor of Ministry because “that’s what pastors do here. They get their doctorate and then leave.” We actually hear on a regular basis people tell us, “We don’t expect you to stay long. Some other church will come calling and you will go.”
Just so y’all know, the Faulks are not going anywhere.
The big question for us is how we can make Vidalia our long term home. Our biggest obstacle is the fact that we don’t have a home. We love the parsonage, but as long as we live in the parsonage we can’t build long term equity. If we serve in Vidalia for 30 years while living in the parsonage, upon my retirement we would be homeless. We want to make Vidalia home. The parsonage actually encourages short term pastorates.
As a family, we have decided to buy a home in Vidalia. Why? We want to put down roots in this community. Vidalia is not a stop on our journey; hopefully it is our long term home. We would love to one day become the Ralph and Ann Webber of our church.
In a few weeks, this change will be brought to the church at large. The personnel, finance, and property committees have all met individually and together regarding this change. I am thankful that all are unified with us.
I am sharing this with you so that you won’t be surprised but will understand our reasoning in buying a home. We also want you to celebrate with us as we are making a commitment to stay.
I love being your pastor, and I look forward to years and hopefully decades of life with you.
It is good to be your pastor,