Gabe Lyons: ‘The Great Irony’ in the American Church Today

Gabe Lyons is passionate about seeing the Christian community informed and aware about issues and topics in culture. That’s why he founded Q Ideas, an organization that trains Christians to think well and lead well in our world today. Gabe shared with us “the great irony” of people in the pews and the pastors behind the pulpits, and how pastors can lead in these difficult, but crucial conversations.

Here’s the great irony. People sitting in pews, people attending church every week, they are desperate and hungry. The research is showing they want their pastors to be more courageous, to be bold, to lead, to tell them how they should think about some of these really difficult topics. They have no idea how their Christian faith should inform the way they should respond to it, so that’s the average person sitting there at church on a Sunday morning.

The pastors, on the other hand, feel intimidated. So they’re saying, “Look on some of these really difficult issues I’m not sure I know how to communicate well about this and I also have a little bit fear that people will leave if I say something wrong or I might offend somebody.”

So, we have this perfect brewing storm. We have a church that’s saying, “Please shepherd me. Please lead me. Please help me know how to think about how to engage the race conversation that we’re having throughout the American life, how can we engage with what’s happening in the Middle East, what should we think about terrorism or refuges, what I should think about sexuality and gay marriage, on and on and on. And their pastors many times are staying away from some of those topics because they know they can be divisive.

What we point out is there’s a way for pastors to lead in this, and a lot of it has to do with your approach. It’s to own the fact that Christians do have a way of thinking about the world that’s a little bit odd at times, a little bit counter cultural, but that’s okay. It doesn’t mean we have to hold that view with a lot of animosity to that culture, critiquing or being cynical about the culture, but yet we’re supposed to walk forward with love. That’s how we treat the people around us, relationships, and we also have to live and embody what we believe. We have to practice these things.

And so, I would encourage pastors, to listen to the little thing in their heart, the conviction that got them to originally decide “Hey, I’m going to follow this calling to be a pastor and to shepherd people.” We’re in a moment in the church now as Paul points out in one of his New Testament letters that we have ten thousand teachers, but no fathers. We’re at the point in the American Church that we need fathers, we need those who will point out where there’s error, that will help people know how to walk in the way of Jesus. Because things are getting more confusing, there’s more options, there’s more information, it’s going to require a little more effort in discipleship, and so we’re trying to encourage pastors how to do that very practically in this book Good Faith.

Don’t miss the full conversation packed with encouragement and wisdom for pastors who want to lead their people well.

Previous articleGabe Lyons on How Christians Can Reverse Negative Cultural Stereotypes
Next articleActor Terry Crews Shares FB Video About Being Set Free From Pornography Addiction
Esther Laurie
Esther Laurie is a staff writer at ChurchLeaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.