Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lukewarm congregations are pushing out bold pastors

It’s a silent crisis that lurks in churches throughout America. It’s at times an abusive practice. And the narrative is the lukewarm pastor. You know, the spokesmen for God who don’t rail so much against sin anymore, but talk about love, opportunity and a better life here in the natural.

It’s the other side of the coin, where congregations control the tone, and if they don’t like what they hear, they get rid of the pastor. Public school teachers have more job security and internal support than pastors in today’s churches. If a student doesn’t think their teacher isn’t making class fun enough, they can’t get rid of him or her.

Lukewarm pastors? What about the lukewarm congregation? In many cases, they run the church, not the pastor. And many of these internal key level individuals have been inside the workings of their church for decades, and ushered in, and ushered out, many pastors.

Pastors are leaving the ministry, and the stats bear this out. The number of pastors who are hurting is astronomical, as well.

1,500 pastors leave the ministry for good each month, citing burnout or contention in their churches. 80% of pastors are “discouraged” in their roles. Nearly half of all pastors have seriously considered leaving the ministry in the past 3 months. 50% of pastors say they are unable to meet the demands of their job, and are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way to make a living.

Dr. Roger Barrier, whom I interviewed for an episode of my Confronting the Devil podcast, relayed that pastors are being abused, and he’s witnessed many who were destroyed. Barrier is a pastor to pastors, and has counselled thousands of them over several decades. He knows first-hand what he is seeing.

I was shocked to hear that in many cases, the pastors are not the leaders of their church. They are often micromanaged by the internal church hierarchy. Church revenue, which is tied to attendance, is leading nearly every decision being made. And a fiery preacher railing against sin drives people out, not in. That’s dollars going out the door.

It has become a Catch 22. Pastors are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

If they are outspoken on sin, repentance and social issues, such as abortion or ungodly political positions, they risk being under siege by key members of the congregation. Sure, no pastor need submit and should be bold in the Gospel, but be warned. You will be eliminated if your congregation feels uncomfortable or the message is causing members to leave the church.

This church will get rid of you, but not before they gossip behind your back.

Pastors are not being pushed out of churches because they aren’t delivering stern enough sermons. They’re being eliminated if they are. It isn’t the devil attacking the pastoral position, it’s the congregation.

The Warden doesn’t always run the correctional facility, sometimes it's the inmates.

Let's face it. Churches have become more social-event oriented, rather than Gospel-truth hungry. Hunger in the church today is not for the Word, but for potlucks and pizza parties. Anything to get people to come in, and perhaps join the congregation.

Happy churches routinely bring in more people and money. It’s just a fact. And, if you don’t believe that, you need to attend Lakewood Church and enjoy Joel Osteen’s latest message.

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