Pastors, it’s not a secret the church has been in decline for a number of years and for a variety of reasons. You can read some statistics and views on why here and here and here. Everyone has their opinions.
Abuse, apostasy and irrelevance are just a few of the words that keep coming up in the search for reasons for the decline. There are a variety of compelling opinions, and I even have a few of my own.
But I suggest there is another area of decline more significant and perhaps much less obvious—and one that certainly contributes to the church’s decline in numbers.
And I think it’s likely a careful analysis would implicate the church’s leadership for this more significant issue.
In other words, I’m concerned about pastors and the role they play in the church’s decline.
By saying so, I’m not suggesting this pastor has it all together. Nor am I trying to cultivate (or ratify) some dishonest skeptics’ hate for the church. Rather, I’m hoping to raise some concerns in a conversational kind of way.
Further, I’m not claiming to be the expert in all church issues. However, I have been in some form of pastoral ministry for the last 19 years and feel I have some measure of insight about the issue.
So in an effort to pursue this conversation in a healthy way, here are 10 pastors I’m concerned about.
1. I’m concerned about the pastor who is better at managing church programs than he is at making disciples of Jesus.
Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger addressed this topic somewhat in the book Simple Church, but I’m not sure how many pastors paid attention to the message.
The church is not better because it has more programs. It’s quite possible for programs to hinder its real mission.
2. I’m concerned about the pastor who attracts people with fancy self-help sermons instead of teaching people to be students of the Bible and theology.
Sure, topical sermons can be helpful teaching tools when used appropriately and in moderation.
But to pique interest in the unchurched, church-growth pastors have promoted episodic sermons ad nauseam and to no avail at effectively grounding deeply committed disciples of Jesus, as the statistics provided previously demonstrate.