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12 Biggest Challenges Church Leaders Face

In my latest nonscientific Twitter survey, I asked the following question of pastors and church staff: What is your biggest challenge in ministry?

Here are the top 12 responses with representative quotes.

I’ve taken the liberty to expand most of the quotes from their abbreviated form in Twitter.

1. Apathy and internal focus.

“I have been in ministry for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen church members more apathetic and internally focused.”

2. Staff issues.

“I inherited staff from the previous pastor. It’s not a good match, but I don’t have the credibility to do anything about it.”

3. Leading and keeping volunteers.

“It’s a full-time job itself.”

4. General time constraints.

“I end every week wondering why I got so little done.”

5. Getting buy-in from members.

“I spend half my time developing a consensus from members about decisions from the mundane to the critical.”

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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.