In It for the Long Haul: Building Effective Long-Term Pastorates

by Glenn Ludwig. The Alban Institute, 2002.

Studies have shown that long-term pastorates can be vital to a congregation’s health and growth. According to Lutheran long-term pastor Glenn Ludwig, however, seminarians are typically taught how to become theologians-in-residence at their churches, rather than trained leaders who resist becoming overtaxed and therefore can remain “for the long haul.” By describing the variety of dynamics that contribute to an effective tenure, Ludwig provides a resource that is applicable to many different congregational contexts. Observations are drawn from Ludwig’s personal experience and strengthened by analysis of other disciplines as well. He tackles myths about long-term pastorates: Will the church go stale? Is a long-term pastor too powerful? And, is there really a “honeymoon” with a new pastor, or is the beginning of a pastorate more like a trial by fire? In addition to demythologizing, Ludwig offers solid leadership advice. He warns against pastors as “lone rangers,” and offers concrete suggestions on setting up support systems. He explains how long-term pastors (and those who wish to become long-term pastors) can effectively equip lay leaders in the church to carry out their own ministries, so that all (including the clergy) are fulfilling their calls to ministry, not just plugging in holes. Finally, the author offers appendices, one of which contains first-hand advice from a panel of long-term pastors, and a bibliography which recommends further resources in the areas of clergy self-care, leadership, conflict management, and more. Invaluable for seminarians and pastors, the book would also aid congregations who seek to retain pastors for the long haul.