10 Ways Pastors Fail Their People

The God who called us into His service and sent us into the pastoral ministry has a vested interest in seeing that we do it right and well. The fact that we are all over the map–as opposed to the straight and narrow–and disorganized in our approach–as opposed to a sharp focus–lies at our doorstep and not His.

That God would want to use flawed and faltering creatures like us says volumes about His grace and mercy.

We are burdened for the younger generation of pastors coming along who are still trying to find their proper role, still trying to nail down their identity as pastors, and still trying to fine-tune the focus of their life work.

This list of “10 ways pastors fail their people” is all about how my generation got it wrong. Not entirely, of course. But way too much.

In no particular order, they are:

1. We have led our people to believe that when they are happy with our ministry, all is well in the church.


The problem is our myopia. We see so little of the grand work of God, often only our tiny little speck of it. And if it is troubled with dissension and division, we know all is not well. So when people are satisfied and compliments are flowing in, it’s natural to assume we must be doing well.

Consequently, we have churches filled with worshipers who believe that when they issue the pastor a passing grade on his Sunday sermon or feel good about the state of the church, they have done their job. We have raised a generation of pastor critics.

2. We have taught our people that giving to missions is more important than praying for missions.

The problem is our results-orientation. We can measure money, but who can measure prayer? We can announce we have met our goal for this offering, but we have no discernable way of detecting whether sufficient prayer has been offered for the work in Borneo or Malawi. So we emphasize one and neglect the other.

We have raised a generation that does everything about missions except to pray.

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Joe McKeever
Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.