Ten Commandments for Pastors Leaving a Congregation


Lovett Weems recommends a book to help pastors who are ending ministry with a congregation or moving to a new pastoral assignment.

Lawrence W. Farris has written a superb book to help pastors who are approaching the time of leaving ministry in a particular place. Using the model he applied to his earlier book for pastors who are new in a congregation, he explores “ten commandments” for pastors preparing to leave. The topics are right, and the chapters are consistently filled with wisdom. This is the best book I have read on the subject of pastoral leaving.

The commandments outlined by Farris are:

  • Thou Shalt Know When It Is Time to Go
  • Thou Shalt Explain Thyself
  • Thou Shalt Not Steal Away
  • Thou Shalt Affirm Thy Congregation’s Ministry
  • Thou Shalt Try to Mend Fences
  • Thou Shalt Help Thy Successor Have a Good Beginning
  • Thou Shalt Be Gentle with Thyself
  • Thou Shalt Attend to Thy Family
  • Thou Shalt (Usually) Stay Away Once Thou Hast Left
  • Thou Shalt Grieve

Lawrence W. Farris has mTenCommandmentsCoverade transitions himself as a Presbyterian pastor. Farris is also author of Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation, Eerdmans, 2003, and Dynamics of Small Town Ministry, Alban, 2000.

Related Resources


About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.