DallasNews Religion page announced that Max Lucado was stepping down as senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. (hattip: MondayMorningInsights). The article says that he is stepping down from his leadership role because of some heart trouble (not the spiritual kind), but is staying at the church. He wants to focus on writing and preaching.
For me this begs the questions, "What happens when the popular pastor resigns and then stays?" Has the pastor really left? Has he/she allowed the pastor who follows to truly assume the leadership of the church? What if someone disagrees with a decision made by the "new" pastor and the old pastor doesn't like the decision either?
I may be wrong, but this seems to set the new pastor up for some difficult hurdles in a profession that has enough difficulties to begin with!
Imagine being the "new guy" that follows Max Lucado, and Max is sitting there in the pews/chairs/stadium surround seating every Sunday morning. No pressure! Even if the pastor has some great self-esteem, this doesn't remove the pressure of having a much-loved previous pastor as part of the church.
I know it must be hard to leave a church family you love. If, like I believe it should be, the pastor stays for a long time then deep relationships are built and friendships are made that are not easy to step away from. The senior pastorate is lonely enough as it is, but then to resign and move away to a new area and a new church...that is hard too.
So what do you think? What would suggest to a church that is loosing a much loved pastor, that is planning to stick around, and getting a new pastor?