Pastors Are Dying: Churches Are Dying: It’s Your Fault

   People get into ministry for a lot of really bad reasons. The fortunate few are the ones who get out of ministry as a vocational choice before too long.

   In particular in the Free Church, our tradition mitigates against effectiveness in pastoral call. We still leave education up to the colleges and seminaries. We have no apparatus for successfully vetting a candidate if the candidate comes highly recommended.

   A church in Colorado called a registered sex offender as their pastor. The bigger problem is, no one knew he was a registered sex offender and he forgot to mention it in the candidacy program.

   Some new psychological studies and treatments indicate some progress in treating people with sexual issues but I would really want to know the fellow in question is in treatment, what his recovery time might be and, well, a few hundred other things.

   Then, I would not call him. There is just too much to overcome.

   At the very least, a Pastoral Search Committee should move slowly, deliberately and do all its due diligence. I ask the committees to get references on the references.

   I also think the search teams should get some meaningful education on what might make a person a productive pastor or staff member. Then, the search team might lead the church to make a commitment to the individual they call as pastor, to help him/her get his 10,000 hours, or to help him get his next 10,000 hours.

   I am a high school basketball referee. There is much left to learn about high school officiating, in particular as more high school systems move to three man officiating crews to replace the old two man crews. Why are they making the change to three man? Simply put, we are running out of referees and there is less joint stress in a three man crew. Yes, one must still work hard but there really is less running and stopping and starting. One can be more productive.

   Now I need 10,000 hours of three-man mechanics. I can do with less because I already have game management, conditioning, et al, in place but I will not be comfortable doing three man until I do it some. I need my next 10,000 hours.

   Pastors need their next 10,000 hours. Some, and I include older pastors here, need to finish their first 10,000 hours.

   If a pastor is a pedophile (ask the Roman Catholics), if he is a proven Church Killer, if he is a liar or a petty thief, he needs part of his 10,000 hours working on his issues. In fact, until he comes to terms with his character issues, he may not get much work done on his soul or his church.

   Oh, churches don't have pedophiles as pastors. Really? I already noted one in Colorado. A Texas church had to ask its very successful pastor to retire after it was discovered he had fathered a child by an unwilling young girl years and years ago.

   I once discovered I had a deacon, a friend, whose name was on the registered sexo offender list. We had to have a talk.

   Stop passing your problems on to the next church.

   My son has a responsible job with the federal government. To get the job, he had to undergo psychological testing, extensive background checking and a polygraph. I am sorry but there are some churches who will call a young guy or an old guy on the basis of how he looks in his suit.

   If forced terminations of pastors by churches are at an all time high, we cannot claim to be doing a good job. God cannot be this confused.

   So, part of the 10,000 hours of a pastor/staffer must be emotional/psychological evaluation and maturity. Simply put, if you are pretty sure you are right, you are probably wrong.

   Churches ought to be evaluated as to their health. That is, what is the leadership like, how do they treat pastors and staff, what are the goals of the congregation and what are the felt needs of the congregation? It is so hard to say sometimes because so many churches do not have an operating mission or vision agreement.

   That is, churches flail wildly about them,  randomly striking objects. It is like watching an elephant dance in the mosh pit.

   Someone is going to get hurt.

2 thoughts on “Pastors Are Dying: Churches Are Dying: It’s Your Fault”

  1. JND,
    You forget. When Rick mentions the church, often time he is using the correct definition. The church is the people. Therefore, he is talking about the laymen.
    Tim Dahl

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