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17 Reasons American Pastors and Church Leaders Are Asking and Answering All the Wrong Questions

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17 Reasons American Pastors and Church Leaders Are Asking and Answering All the Wrong Questions

Racial tension.  How much emphasis do you put on digital vs online audiences?  Biden or Trump.  Masks or No Masks.  Hand sanitizer.  Disinfectant machines.  Opening vs closings. Trying to be part of the solution and not the problem by cooperating with the government.  What are the schools doing? Immigration. Education.

These are the questions American pastors and church leaders are consumed with.  While each must and should be addressed, the amount of time and energy dedicated to these problems is excessive and unhealthy in light of the real problem pastors and church leaders are dealing with.  Ironically, dealing with the real problem will be the solution to those issues.

This problem facing the American church, one which if not dealt with, will lead it into complete irrelevance.

October Barna Study

On October 8th, ChurchLeaders.com posted a recent Barna study entitled Barna: We’re Experiencing Another Reformation, and Not in a Good Way.  The results were not just alarming, they were frightening.  In a study of evangelicals (people who claim to be Christians), the following are just some of the results:

  1. 52% reject absolute moral truth.
  2. 61% did not read the Bible daily.
  3. 75% believe people are basically good.
  4. 60% believe the Bible conflicts with their beliefs.
  5. 54% are unwilling to define human life is sacred.
  6. 50% claim the Bible is vague on abortion.
  7. 43% believe Jesus sinned.
  8. 58% believe the Holy Spirit is symbolic.
  9. 62% of church-goers say it is important to have some type of faith.
  10. 50% do not view sex outside of marriage as sinful.
  11. 40% do not believe lying is sinful.
  12. 48% believe in salvation through works.
  13. 43% do not believe in a God-Given purpose for humanity.
  14. 42% seek moral guidance from somewhere other than the Bible.
  15. 34% reject marriage as only one man and one woman.
  16. 34% approve of abortion if it spares the mother from emotional and financial hardship.
  17. 36% fail to seek and pursue God’s will for their life each day.

The Greatest Crisis Facing American Pastors And Church Leaders Is Biblical Illiteracy

When you read the frightening statistics listed above you are left to admit the greatest issue facing American church is Biblical Illiteracy, not the items listed in this article’s opening paragraph.  A proper understanding of the Scriptures and the Gospel is the solution to today’s challenges.  However, Oprah, political affiliations, our friends, our experiences, culture, and even worse, our feelings are giving definition to our lives more than we are allowing the Scriptures to do.  As stated, 60% believe the Bible conflicts with their beliefs.

The seeker-sensitive movement, unhinging from the Old Testament, and minimizing what the Scripture says about the issues of our lives have lead to tragic results.  The people in our pews simply do not know what the Scriptures say.  But based upon the information provided, there is a harder realization we must embrace:

The Greatest Mission Field In American Churches Is Sitting In Our Very Own Sanctuaries And Auditoriums

60% of regular church attenders who claim to be Christians are probably lost.  Don’t believe me, when 58% believe the Holy Spirit is symbolic and 36% fail to seek and pursue God’s will for their life each day, we have to admit these people were probably never saved.  At best, the bought into a false version of the true Gospel.  The Gospel is a death to self, an abandoning of self, and following Christ.

Many of these individuals may have probably been baptized.  But they likely did not get saved, they just got wet.  The challenge now for pastors is they are going to have get these people lost, before they can see them truly saved.

An Inconvenient Solution

So what is going to take to reverse the latest Barna statistics?  Here are some options:

  1. At the very least, a significantly more robust discipleship process.
  2. More Biblical Preaching – The seeker sensitive movement has resulted in a generation of Biblically illiterate people.  Nothing changes a human life like effective preaching.  Pastors need to return to fundamental Bible teaching.
  3. Pastors are not communicators who give talks.  Pastors are preachers who give a message from the Ancient of Days to His people to address the issues in their lives at this specific moment and time in human history.
  4. Pastors must once-again become the prophetic voice in their communities.  This will result in pastors confronting culture rather than snuggling up to it.  And when this happens, these courageous pastors will face…
  5. Persecution

And that is the inconvenient solution.

To reverse the 17 Barna statistics listed above, pastors are going to have to deliver difficult biblical truths.  But it is the difficult biblical truths which truly set people free.  But even if you deliver the message with love, these difficult biblical truths will birth persecution.

How many American pastors and church leaders are willing to go through persecution?  We will soon find out.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

This article originally appeared here.

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.