The best advice that I never received was this little passage from the works of Richard Baxter: “Bridgnorth (his first pastorate) had made me resolve that I would never go among a People that had been hardened in unprofitableness under an awakening ministry; but rather to such as had never had any convincing Preacher, or such as had profited by him.”
I don’t recall how I came into contact with this passage. I would venture that this would be a good guideline for young pastors, to avoid taking up pastorates in churches that have had a succession of short term pastors and which have remained small or declined over the course of years. Usually there are a number in the congregation and leadership who have become hardened to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. Often they live by slogans and formulas and are simply keeping up the forms out of routine. Avoiding a hard hearted and backslidden congregation and leaving them to the discretion and discipline of God is often the best recourse.