10 Fears of Church Leaders

I have not hidden my love for pastors and other church leaders. And I have said and written on many occasions that these church leaders often have a very difficult work.

In fact, I recently told a large gathering of seminary students to consider very seriously their calling. No one should enter the ministry unless the calling is clear and secure.

As I converse and hear from church leaders across the country and beyond, I often hear of their challenges and fears.

We all know that God has commanded us not to fear, but, in our humanity and sinfulness, we do lapse into fear. I certainly did as a pastor, and I still succumb to that sin today.

So what are the most common fears of church leaders today?

Here are 10 I hear often, listed in my perceived order of frequency.

1. Fear of critics.

Leading a church means the leader will have critics.

Sometimes the criticisms become so frequent that it seems easier not to lead. For pastors and other church leaders, the steady inflow of negative comments becomes emotionally, spiritually and physically draining.

2. Fear of failure.

This fear is almost universal, and church leaders are not exempt from it.

Leadership requires faith-based steps—what the world calls risk. Some church leaders do not lead forward because they fear they will not succeed.

3. Fear of power brokers.

These church members often are the informal but true decision-makers of the church.

Some of them have great influence. Some of them are big financial givers to the church.

Some of them are both.

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Thom Rainer
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.