Home Pastors How Pastors Can Help Their Churches Overcome Apathy

How Pastors Can Help Their Churches Overcome Apathy


Being a pastor has never been easy, but pastoring in America today seems to come with certain challenges that weren’t present even a few short decades ago. 

Amid social unrest, political discord, and economic crises, pastors are working tirelessly to show with their words and lives that Jesus is the answer to all that ails us. Very often, however, they are met with apathy in their communities—and even within their own congregations. 

Recent research has revealed that even while almost all churches in America have reopened following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, most are still struggling to regain traction in attendance numbers relative to pre-pandemic expectations. 

In short, the pandemic has led many, even those who would characterize themselves as deeply committed followers of Jesus, to reorder their priorities, with regular church attendance dropping on that list. 

The same can be said of giving, which has been down in many churches, partly as a result of a down economy. Furthermore, pastors have seen some of their congregants leave for churches that are more vocally supportive of their own political policy stances, which has been part of a trend wherein many Christians are apparently becoming more committed to a particular political expression of their faith than the call to be a body that is unified in its diversity. 

Pair these statistical realities with the fact that an alarming number of Christians in emerging generations believe that evangelism is morally wrong, and you may begin to believe that things are looking bleak for the mission of Jesus in America. 

But pastors ought not to be without hope. Revival often comes just as things are looking their most spiritually grim.

While only a move of God can redress the spiritual apathy that is often present in our churches and communities, there is much that pastors can do to ensure that they are prepared for such an awakening. 

Here are three things pastors can do to fight apathy in their churches and communities.

1. Remember That It Starts With You.

A church will never be more spiritually vibrant than its senior leadership. Furthermore, the overall temperature of a pastoral staff or elder board will never exceed that of its lead pastor. So it has to start with you. If your heart has grown cold, so will the hearts of those whom you lead.

Church staffs, elder boards, and volunteer leaders should be marked by their commitment to praying together, discussing the scriptures together, and being committed to one another. 

These are behaviors and traits that must be modeled by the pastor. When your elders, staff members, and volunteer leaders come into contact with you, they should have a sense that they are interacting with someone who regularly encounters God. In order for that to be the case, you must actually be someone who regularly encounters God through prayer, scripture study, and contemplation.