I wrote the 100th anniversary congregational history for my Lutheran church in the 1980's. My grandmother had written the 75th and my great-great uncle John August Lindquist had written the 50th, so it seemed a natural.
In documenting the years of service of all the pastors, I noted that from 1951-78 the church had gone through 9 straight pastors at just about exactly 3 years each. All had subsequently left parish ministry, as far as I could tell. There was no pattern to that - one to retirement, one to teaching and farming, one fired for ripping off the congregation, one to a radio ministry. But in all cases, Gethsemane was the last stop before leaving parish work.
At the time, I attributed that to the congregation, that it was particularly difficult or obstreperous, chewing 'em up and spitting 'em out. I thought it was a very black mark against us, and may have been part of our decision to leave four years down the road.
I no longer think that. I now think the congregation was very typical, an aging Swedish church trying to adjust but not knowing how, with the usual mix of gentle souls, irritable old codgers, and earnest young mothers willing to put in hours of work. I don't know if the three-and-out track record is more an indictment of the denomination (LCA became ELCA), of secular New England or Scandinavian culture, or of the type of person who went into ministry in postwar Lutheranism. But I assigned responsibility wrongly the first time around.