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12 Biggest Challenges Church Leaders Face

6. Generational challenges.

“It seems like the older generation is determined to nix any new ideas or excitement from the younger generation.”

7. Finances.

“You can sum up our challenge in four simple words: We need more money.”

8. Holding on to traditions.

“I wish our members would put as much effort into reaching people for Christ as they do holding on to their traditions.”

9. Criticism.

“Some leaders in the church have appointed themselves to be my weekly critics.”

10. Leadership development.

“We miss too many opportunities in ministry because we don’t have enough leaders ready.”

11. Majoring on minors.

“We spent an hour in our last business conference discussing the fonts in our bulletins.”

12. Lack of true friends.

“One of the toughest realities for me as a pastor was the awareness that I have no true friends in the church.”

What is fascinating, if not discouraging, about this survey is that virtually all of the challenges noted by these pastors and staff were internal challenges. It appears that many of our churches in America are not effective conduits of the gospel because the members spend so much energy concerned about their own needs and preferences.

What do you think about this list? What would you add?  

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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.