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6 Reasons Ministry Is Harder Than It Used to Be

6 Reasons Ministry Is Harder Than It Used to Be

Ever feel like ministry is harder than it was a decade ago?

You’re not alone.

I am an eternal optimist when it comes to the church, but I agree that ministry is more challenging than it’s ever been.

Understanding why is key to figuring out what to do and how to respond.

You may or may not like the change in culture you see around you, but the fastest path to ineffectiveness in the church is to ignore the change you see around you.

So why is ministry a little more challenging than it used to be?

Here are six reasons … and a beacon of hope to guide us into a better future.

1. The automatic return to church is over.

There was an assumption in ministry (it still lingers in certain circles) that although young adults who grew up in the church might walk away for a season, they’ll come back as soon as they have kids.

The research shows that’s just not true.

Ditto the assumption that unchurched people will turn to the church the moment they hit a bit crisis in their lives.

Unchurched people think about church about as much as the average Christian thinks about synagogue—rarely.

Will you occasionally have people who turn to the church in times of crisis? Of course. Or young families who come back? Absolutely.

But if you treat the exception like the rule, you’ll be deeply frustrated with your inability to realize your mission of reaching people with the Gospel.

2. The gap between what Christians believe and the culture believes is bigger.

If you’ve sensed that the values many Christians hold are significantly different than the values our culture holds to, you would be right.

What Christians believe about sexuality, money, love, drugs, ethics and compassion are increasingly different from what our neighbors who don’t go to church believe.

So how do you bridge that gap?

Too many preachers just yell at the world for not believing what we believe. Ditto for Christians on social media.

Not only is that a mistake; it’s a terrible strategy.

Guess what: Christians are supposed to be different than non-Christians. It shouldn’t surprise us that it’s happened.

Sharing why we believe what we believe in love is a far more effective strategy than yelling at the world in hate.

In a few weeks on my Leadership Podcast, I’ll be interviewing David Kinnaman, President of Barna Research, on how Christians should interact with a changing culture.

To make sure you don’t miss the conversation, you can subscribe to the podcast for free.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.