“The vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches. It’s a trend I have not seen in my lifetime. Some are just weeks away from making an announcement.” – Thom Rainer
We Are Dividing Over Masks – Let that sink in. What is keeping people from worship? It is not persecution. It is not the threat of death. It is a little piece of cloth that might have to be worn for an hour or less. Jesus died on a cross for us, and 2,000 years later we are going to argue about masks. Ministers have devoted their lives to the church, and people are leaving church because of masks.
Ministery Carries Little or No Influence – In times past, ministers were respected. Ministry was an honorable position. What a minister said mattered. Things have changed. The ministers I know are not looking for more respect, but they do want to have some influence so that they can help change lives. The words of a minister do not carry the weight they once did. They are regularly ignored or challenged. If the minister says something I do not like, then I can find a pundit, social commentator, or another minister who I do not know who offers an alternative perspective. Voices are plentiful, and this means we can always find someone else who agrees with what we already believe. It is difficult for ministers to help when their influence is being minimized.
Formation is Not Happening at Church – Ministers want to help people become like Jesus. Formation takes time. It will not happen if people only give one hour a week to church or church-related activities. People are always being formed. We are formed by whatever it is we are devoting our time and attention to. Many ministers realize they are fighting a losing battle. People are being formed by politics, sports, video games, social media, Netflix, etc. There is more formation going on outside of the church than within it.
Individualism Reigns – Church leaders often find themselves in a no-win situation. When a controversy arises, people make up their minds and do not budge. Decisions are made individually, not communally. What is best for the community is rarely considered. Decisions are based on personal rights, personal desires, personal needs, etc. Churches are comprised of individuals who cling to their personal decisions and are ready to jump ship whenever they are challenged. Submission is not practiced because the only one we are willing to submit to is ourselves.
Politics – Ministers dread election years because they know what is coming. Lies will be shared. Sins will be excused. Bad behavior will be defended. Good behavior will be ignored if it comes from the other side. It is a moral and ethical nightmare. In election years, the hope of the nation is placed in what happens in November, not in Jesus Christ. Many ministers wonder if what they have been doing matters. Why continue on if it can all be so easily disregarded because of an election?
What can you do for your minister?
Pray for your minister.
Encourage your minister regularly.
Be an ally. Befriending your minister and working alongside him will greatly bless him and the work he is doing.