What We're Getting Into

Sam Rainer

August 26, 2009

In any transition, you never fully realize what you’re getting into until you’re there. This principle is especially true of senior and lead pastors moving from one ministry to another. Leaders face more scrutiny in transitions than others. Spiritual leaders can be placed under a microscope.

I know that I’m going to a great church – I can’t wait to be on the field in Murray. When I worked with church leaders on a pastor-church covenant, I encountered yet another reason to be thankful for my transition to FBC Murray. The covenant pulls language from a variety of sources, but the final product is an excellent example of how to begin a ministry with clear, essential expectations. I’m sure that there will be a fair amount of inspection upon arrival – from the church’s perspective and mine. I’m encouraged that we’ll be looking for the right fundamentals.

Pastor-Church Covenant of Relationship

This covenant between Sam S. Rainer III (pastor) and First Baptist Church (FBC) of Murray, Kentucky, Inc. at 203 South 4th Street, Murray, Kentucky is entered to provide clear and mutual understandings about relationships and responsibilities necessary to bring glory to God through the growth of FBC and the pastor throughout the tenure of his ministry.

First Baptist Church of Murray and Sam Rainer (pastor) are pleased to enter this covenant, effective September 1, 2009. This covenant shall continue as long as both the pastor and the FBC believe it is God’s will.

Led by the Spirit of God, the pastor agrees to the following.

1. To love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.

2. To love and care for his family.

3. To love God’s church, and the people God has called him to shepherd.

4. To place the ministry in the local church above outside ministry and professional activities.

5. To lead the church to carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

6. To fulfill the responsibilities of the office of Senior Pastor as provided in the job description.

Led by the Spirit of God, First Baptist Church of Murray agrees to the following.

1. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

2. To be loving and gracious to the pastor and his family; to allow the pastor time and freedom to have a personal life apart from church obligations and to expect no more of the pastor’s family than any other family.

3. To support our pastor’s leadership through active prayer, giving, participation and service in the church and its ministries.

4. To provide the resources needed to do the work for which the pastor has been called, including competent and dedicated staff as needed to assist in the mission of the church.

5. To support and encourage our pastor to take part in education, conferences, workshops, writing and other activities that are mutually beneficial to him, our church, and the Kingdom of God.

6. To recognize that ministry is not a job with regular hours and thus to encourage the pastor to adjust his schedule when needed to assure a proper balance of professional and personal time.

6 comments on “What We're Getting Into”

  1. BJ Foust says:

    Churches are great places to preach and teach the Word od God .But in any case when you are involved and are giving your time and talents you have to feel like you are one with the church in every aspect. If you don’t you will not be able to serve as God intends you to serve.It is not just a job ,it is a passion for not only leading a church but serving a church as well as you can in your heart mind and soul.

  2. Sam Rainer says:

    Thanks for your thoughts BJ. I pray all is well with you.

  3. Tim Farley says:

    As a pastor, I think this idea of a covenant between the pastor and church is an excellent idea. I have to admit that I have never heard of another church doing this. Was it done at your request or was it something that FBC Murray initiated?

  4. Sam Rainer says:

    Tim – it was initiated by the church, and something I fully supported.

  5. Chris St. John says:

    First of all, congratulations and welcome to Kentucky. I think #4 under the pastor’s heading is worth a discussion. Having been on two pastoral teams in my life, I disagree with placing a premium on internal ministry over external ministry, particularly in the community in which the local church is located.

    Are we, as pastors, not also to be salt and light in our community. To agree to #4 at face value seems, at least in my view, to become a chaplain to members, rather than a leader of a missional community.

    I value your input.

  6. Sam Rainer says:

    Chris –

    Let me provide some clarification: #4 refers to my speaking, consulting, and work at Rainer Research. FBC nor I believe that internal ministry is placed above external ministry. Thanks for pointing this out – I wouldn’t want to confuse others.

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