I read the following over the weekend in The New Guidebook for Pastors by Max Brunson and James W. Bryant:
The secret to staying where you are is twofold. First, just say no. If a church asks for your Résumé, just say no. If God really wants you at that church, they will come back to you. When pastors send out their Résumés on a regular basis, they become double-minded, and this leads to instability (James 1:8).
Second, recognize the eighteen-month rule (the time varies depending on which book you read). This rule says that every relationship tends to reach a plateau about every eighteen months. This is true of marriages, families, jobs, and churches. In other words, adjustments need to be made to enable you to continue moving forward. This is why organizations have strategy planning meetings at least every year or two.A wise pastor will review his relationships at least every eighteen months. Could it be that one of the reasons there are short pastorates is that the pastor does not recognize the eighteen-month rule? About every eighteen months he will run into opposition. If it is not opposition, it will be lethargy. The relationship between a pastor and his church is much like a marriage. He must find ways to improve this relationship or it will stagnate. That leads to ineffectiveness at the least or conflict at the worst. Adjustments must be made if you want to stay.
Some pastors say, “But I want a larger church.” Then grow your own. Almost any church can grow, regardless of its location or history. Stay with it. Tenure is power in leadership. The longer a pastor stays at a church, the more the leadership of the congregation will belong to him.