trust

A day does not pass that I do not hear from a hurting pastor. Serving in that role has to be one of the most challenging vocations today. Sure, there are some bad and immoral pastors. But the vast majority of our pastors serve their congregations in a way that honors God and makes a difference in the community.

But both anecdotally and by objective research, we learn that pastors are trusted less and held in lower esteem each year. A recent Pew Research poll found that the favorable view of clergy had declined to 37 percent of those surveyed.

Why are pastors no longer held in high esteem? What is behind the precipitous drop in favorable ratings almost every year? Allow me to offer eleven possible reasons. As you will see, they are not mutually exclusive.

  1. The moral failures of a minority of pastors receive widespread coverage. The media loves the sensational stories behind clergy failure. For sure, some stories such as sex abuse should be brought to the public eye. But many people now believe the bad behavior of a few is normative for all pastors.
  2. Our nation has marginalized the Christian faith. So it should not be unexpected that leaders in the Christian world are viewed more negatively.
  3. Pastoral tenure has dropped significantly over the past few decades. Tenure is up slightly the past few years, but the longer trend is down. Trust is built over several years, not two or three years. Fewer pastors have made it to the point of several years.
  4. Some church members have a strong entitlement mentality. They see the local congregation as a place largely to meet their needs and desires, rather than to serve and give. If those needs and desires are not met, the pastor is often the locus of blame.
  5. Social media encourages criticism from a distance. There is much commendable about social media. Indeed, I am heavy user of it. But it also is a means for critics to sound off about pastors (and others) without forethought or consequences.
  6. A few pastors have poor work ethics. More pastors are just the opposite; they fight workaholism. But the few pastors who are lazy and have little accountability hurt the perceptions people have of other pastors.
  7. Pastors are often the scapegoats for fear and change. It is cliché to say the world is changing rapidly. Many church members would like their churches to remain the same every year. Such a reality is not possible, and the pastor is often the scapegoat for the discomfort that comes with change.
  8. There is a pervasive cynicism in our society. The reasons behind that reality are many. But congregations and their leaders are not immune from this widespread and pervasive cynicism on society that seems to be growing.
  9. There is a failure of some pastors in two key areas: leadership and emotional intelligence. Some pastors are well prepared biblically and theologically. But some have not been taught leadership and healthy interpersonal skills.
  10. There are higher expectations today for pastors to be competent, even dynamic, leaders. But, as I noted in the previous point, some pastors have no preparation to be leaders of churches.
  11. More churches are dying in America today. I estimate as many as 100,000 churches in America are dying. Many will close their doors in the next few years. Many of the pastors of these churches are blamed for this malady.

I love pastors. Most pastors are wonderful servants of God, yet their plights are often very difficult.

What do you think of these eleven reasons? What would you add?

And allow me one footnote: please pray for your pastor.


Image Credit: elev8.com

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Comments

  1. John says

    About six months after coming to my current church (almost two years now), the wife of a prominent couple in our church told me quite clearly that she didn’t trust me. I asked her the reason and her response was that there was no specific reason, she just didn’t.

    This person has been a constant thorn in my side for the entire time I’ve been here and I honestly don’t see that stopping. I’ve prayed about it, sought reconciliation with them, etc. and nothing has broken through her hardened personality. Although I don’t have a clue why she’s never trusted me and continues to do everything she can to undermine my ministry here, I feel sorry for her. She seems like one of those people who is not happy unless they are angry or upset about something. I know she was also this way with the last pastor who was here for more than a decade and with their previous church (she’s told me so herself) so it isn’t just me.

    So I suppose my only add to your list of reasons is that sometimes there is no reason, it’s just the hard hearted nature of some.

    • Dano says

      HI, JOHN
      I know how you feel. Going on a little over five years pastoring; I still have members who attack me and the ministry of the church. Boy it hurts, and if you allow it, the hurt will stop you in your tracks. I should know it did me. But, I can truly say God is good! You may already know this, however, I had to learn this; stay true to the Word of God, love those who hurt you, focus your heart on those who encourage you, and rejoice in Gods faithfulness. I can truly say I love my church and the ministry God has placed me in.

      • Jules says

        All of this is making me think about a book I just read about the Jezebel spirit. Read “Jezebel: the witch is back” by Landon Schott. It tells you how to identify and deal with it.

    • says

      Could be some cultural aspects to this as well, John. We’ve heard similar comments but always in the context of the pastor/wife being the outsiders of a community. In many communities, if you didn’t grow up somewhere then you will never earn the right to be trusted or accepted into their lives. I really believe that the root is in a lack of trust in God, which is a broad root, but it seems to be an authority-based issue that likely transcends into other areas of folks’ lives.

      • Keith says

        Leah, you’re right on the money about “the root is in a lack of trust in God”…lack of trust in the pastor is only a symptom of a much larger problem in American churches today.

    • Welton says

      Take a deacon/elder and confront the individual and ask her to stop the destructive behavior (scriptural approach). If she doesn’t, take it before the church body.

      • says

        Yes, you’re right. The loss of the Biblical practice of church discipline is one of the main causes of the problems. Indeed, several of those eleven points are fruits of failing to obey the Lord Jesus’ direction to confront sin and excommunicate (Mt. 18:16ff.)
        The loss of church discipline should be one of the main reasons pastors have lost trust.

        • Robby says

          I tried this with the lady Deacon in my church. She was making demands at every juncture that if I didn’t obey, she would leave, taking as many with her as she could. She counter-accused me of lying, and one of the witnesses who already had an issue with me because I asked her to apologize to someone she had offended, is now even more confused. I hope to clear things up soon, but I feel rather discouraged.

          • Matt says

            First problem is a female deacon. Also women seem to be worse than men and when women act this way towards a man is because there is a deep rooted unresolved issues towards a man somewhere in their past

    • says

      I also have seen this same issue, it was truly a thorn in my side. If she continues to be a thorn to you then just live as Paul and allow God to show even brighter. My prayers are with you.

    • jgeerdes says

      To discover the root of her perennial distrust, you may need to go all the way back to childhood. Maybe even her parents’ childhood. Sometimes farther. I would not worry about it too much. Just make sure you’re acting and ministering with godly character, integrity, and earnestly. Maybe she’ll come around eventually. Maybe it will be such that her grumbling and accusations and suspicion are eventually considered ridiculous by the entire church and community. But be patient and persevere because if you get short with her or quit, you’ll only reinforce her doubt.

      When my wife and I came to our church now almost twelve years ago, we were fresh out of Bible college and wet behind the ears to the point we didn’t need to shower. One of the couples in the church said, point blank, “We were at this church before you got here, and we’ll be here after you’ve gone.” They had a clear distrust of pastors bred by a decade of pastoral instability in the church. Two or three years ago, he told me he loved me like a son. Last year, she told me she couldn’t see anyone else pastoring our church. I’ve been told they’ve also pulled aside our district superintendent (I.e., our denomination’s equivalent of a bishop) and told him on multiple occasions that I’m a superb pastor and he had better not try to take me from our church.

      I don’t recount that to toot my own horn but to encourage you. Somewhere between year 1 and year 12, we won this couple over. I’ve seen studies that suggest it takes seven years to gain the rapport to truly lead. In some places, it’s longer because of history and such. The biggest key for me in this article is to stick with it, faithfully and consistently discharging the duties of our ministry for the long haul.

    • S. A. Morrison says

      John, I do share with you. I would not say that I know how you are feeling, but I sure do understand. I have encountered a similar situation. I have been pastoring the local church where I’m at for 22 years. The better part of these 22 years I have put up with basically the same kind of attitude and behaviour. Things go so bad that I had no recourse but to disfellowshipped her from the church. She has done everything that she possible could to destroy my ministry. But I refused to let her. I have been serving The Lord for over fifty years, been in ministry for over 37 years; this is my 4th pastorate, and I have never seen anyone like this. Nevertheless, despite of her disposition, I have not allowed it to distract me from my pastoral mandate. Consequently, after many counselling, admonishing, showing love etc, Nothing worked. So my last resort was discipline. All I can say John, hang in there and don’t let this individual cause you to lose you focus.

    • says

      John, what worked for me? I started loving all her family and extended family. They did the work for me. By showing them grace and mercy through prayer, it took a couple years. but now, she’s one of our strongest supporters.
      God Bless
      Rod

    • John James says

      Is she on medication for uncontrolled irritability or something? Does she need counseling? Has anyone tried to help her? I know some of this kind of people need psychological/psychiatric …help, perhaps.

    • says

      This lady is a good example of why you are in this church. You are there to solve her problem and she quickly shows herself to you and instils doubt in Jesus’ ministry in your hands. Of course this is what as a pastor you have been called to deal with. She wants you to convince her that you have not come to solve your own problem but her’s. being in the church, you as her Pastor should know that she is desiring God and it is your business to lead her to Christ in Love. She is ready for spiritual conviction and seeking Christ in her life in a very passionate way. All the others have failed her and she is an honest woman (seeking Christ in spirit and truth) and so confesses she doubts if you will be different from the others. When she must have met Christ, you will now prepare her to also go out and present this Good News to the people of the world (loss ship). She is going to be one of your most faithful Christian in the long run. Please Pastor, be intentional with her. Do this and send me the feed back. Not all those who are in Church are have had a personal encounter with Christ. Some have had but many are just hungry for it. Also, the levels of hunger and thirst for Christ and His word also differ. So each christian needs special attention as we teach and equip them for every good ministry work.

  2. steve says

    Another Paradigm – From basic needs to excessive compensation. – As pastor’s salaries have grown their lifestyles are becoming worldlier. Don’t misconstrue what I am saying – I believe that our pastors need to be reasonably compensated. However, when the IRS increases its audits of churches to determine the appropriate level of pastor compensation we have reason for pause. Churches often pay pastors according to their size. Mega-churches are on the rise. Many mega-churches are disguised by a central campus with numerous affiliated offshoots. Regardless, modern churches are basing compensation on size. Many mega-churches hire compensation consultants to determine the appropriate levels of pastor salaries. And, it is increasingly more difficult to discover what a pastor’s compensation really is. Many mega-churches provide exceptional employee benefits (i.e. – health insurance, retirement plans, housing allowances, travel reimbursement, and etc.). I believe this is a paradigm that distracts pastors from their primary purpose.

    • Mark says

      Rev. Kim Seidman, an episcopal priest wrote from her Bishop: “You are not the CEO of a not-for-profit. You are the spiritual leader of a faith community.”

      The bishop knew of which he spoke. It would do others well to not forget that.

    • niki says

      I stopped going to church based on number 4 of the list. I was dying inside and am very broken and couldn’t get anywhere with God is another reason. I certainly didn’t blame the pastor but it did sicken me when he’d compliment the congregation on how great they were.

  3. Melanie says

    This article is so out of touch its offensive.
    No, churchgoers don’t feel “entitlement” its that we’re sick of being told that WE are the problem when something is wrong in the church. People in the church are unfriendly? It must be YOU. You dont have food to eat? Its must be YOU. If I hear “If you dont work you shouldnt eat” thrown at one more person in need I’m going to puke.

    If you search pastors that have had issues or moral failures its NOT just a few… its a slew of them. In addition they act like power hungry jerks, and they *expect* that when they become pastors they should never have to work a regular job because they are a pastor. Who’s engaging in entitlement thinking?

    Ever since I stopped going to church I feel that my life more closely resembles that of Christ. Rather than supporting a pastor, I am helping the poor and disenfranchised… and those who simply cannot help themselves. When I find a church that not just teaches but LIVES biblical truth I will return.

    • says

      Wow … I really sense a Christ-like spirit in your comments. Not associating with God’s people (the church) must really be working.
      I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a pastor, but God has designed us in Christ to be part of a body of believes. It is in that community we find encouragement, correction, love and growth. It’s time to surrender and come home to the Body of Christ.
      I feel your pain.

      • Mark says

        Why should one go back to a place where one is being blamed? It is like people not wanting to go back to a church where they are being condemned to hell in 2 out if every 3 sermons. I feel for her. The body of Christ is far bigger than one congregation.

        • Randall says

          God seems to continually allow that kind of trying person in our lives so we can see for ourselves where our heart is for hurting people. Sometimes there’s just no logic to it. I’ve been unhappy as church member and as a pastor, at that point, anything or anybody can become a reason or excuse to blame the difficult situation on when the real problem was my on spiritual walk.
          Situations or other people can be part of what bothers us, but we get to decide wheather they are obstacles or opportunities by our actions.

    • shauna says

      pastors do work very hard to prepare the messages that they are going to preach on each service. researchers for science make a ton of money, n pastors research daily, if devoted, to prepare a message for the members of their church. if people are not taught of hell, then they will never know of the eternal damnation they will face after death if they have not been saved by the grace of God. they also are woken up all hours of the night with phone calls from people needing their counsel b prayers. pastor that are called by God hurt when their church members hurt. they cry with their members and they are affected mentally n physically daily. when you find a pastor that is a true man of God you will realize that he is the most kind, compassionate, loving, caring, and honorable man you’ve ever known.

    • Larry Elrod says

      Melanie,
      As a pastor who has served without salary in a ministry which serves and works with the marginalized and disenfranchised, also know as the multi-generational poverty culture, I have struggled for nine years to fully understand this different point of view. I understand that survival mode can often lead a person to feel like a victim of circumstance. I also understand how the efforts of our government and social agencies to help people in need has often left them feeling stuck in a life that is barely enough and with little hope of getting ahead without paying a terrible penalty when they lose health care, child care, housing and food assistance, and educational programs because they have a regular job that disqualifies them from further help. To me it seems to be a terrible form of slavery. The struggle to make any change seems overwhelming. And yet, without some change, there can be no freedom. And that is where the person comes in. We can only do so much to help others. Jesus told the lame man to get up and walk. It was up to the lame man to get up and walk. Jesus told the blind man to see. it was up to the blind man to see. I must help others get well not just tell them to get well. However, they must also do what is necessary to be well. It is a difficult truth but if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. If who you are has brought you to where you are at, what makes you think that who are is going to take you somewhere else. Everyone needs a guide but everyone is responsible for taking the journey. My heart constantly breaks as I share the hope God offers to people who are too afraid to let go of their fragile system of survival and put their faith and trust in God who loves them and wants their lives to be a testimony to His goodness and grace. May the Holy Spirit take these words of comfort and stir your heart to believe in all that God has in store for you.

      • says

        If she’s really “falling in love with Jesus” (note the romanticized language in contrast to the language of Lordship in the Bible), then she’ll love the Body of Christ, the church, and submit to the leaders the Lord Jesus has raised up in it. To offer her condolences without confronting her about her sin (for example, violating Hebrews 10:25) is not Biblical and thus not pastoral.

    • Antwan Johnson says

      I am a minister of the gospel. I am not employed by a congregation….and not sure I fully want to depend on one for financial security. I feel and for the most part agree with your statement. God bless.

    • says

      Melenie, It’s definitely you. You’re living in rebellion against the Word of God (for example, Hebrews 10:25) and seriously need either to humble yourself or even more fundamentally consider whether you are really a Christian at all (2 Corinthians 13:5).

      • says

        John Carpenter,

        Enough already with the judgment and condemnation. Jesus left the 99 to search for the 1.

        Remember the “Shepherding Movement”? It was almost cult-like in its insistence that people “submit to the leaders God has placed over you”. It was unbiblical but it carried on for years and did untold amounts of damage to Christians in their churches.
        Your line of reasoning with Melanie is EXACTLY the same as the Shepherding Movement.
        I encourage you to repent.

        • Stephanie says

          I was a part of a church that spawned from the “Shephering Movement” from 1992 to 2002. It has been a rough road to recover and trust organized churches. I believe that ALL churches need to take a good hard look at themselves to make sure that the eggs spawned from that movement did not infiltrate teir church. A little yeast, just one infected person, can cause disaster. Please pray for me and my family to heal from our experience and its consequences.

    • Lucy says

      While I don’t agree with you in full, Melanie, I do think you have hit some of the problem head on. I’m seminary educated and I served on staff at a church for a time, so I’ve been around that block and I’ve also been hurt by a church, so I’ve been there too. There are some wonderful pastors out there who love God and their congregations, but who are still sinners and make mistakes. Then, there are others who use the ministry as a way to promote themselves, build their own kingdoms and stroke their own egos, all while avoiding the account ability needed to walk humbly and faithfully with God. The problem is not just that church leaders don’t love their congregations or that congregants don’t submit to their pastors. The problem is that we are ALL sinners who desperately need a savior.

    • Rodger Castle says

      Since you have “quit going to church”, how do you deal with this Scripture?
      Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
      Without being critical of others, I believe you need to seek forgiveness for “forgetting your first love” and re-establish yourself in a church.

    • Amanda says

      I’m sorry but I have seen a sense of entitlement. It’s what scares me away from many churches. You have church members that are like we’ll my daddy and grand daddy were in this church since it start and so we should be apart of ALL decisions but it’s the whole body. Or when a poor person comes in for help they turn a blind eye to them. I was raised in the church and what I saw from a poor kids point of view I was never able to be at all the youth events but I’m ok with that. I actually agree with this article in it’s entirety. Good writing sir. By the way I still go to church because a church is not a pedestal of saints but a hospital for the sinner. Jesus saves not the church.

    • Tony says

      Hi Melanie. I think my thoughts resemble yours in many ways. I used to hand my offerings to the church business but I’ve never felt easy about it. As I’ve read scripture and compared it to what is going on in most “churches” today, I see much contradiction. For instance, we are supposed to take care of the needy. But I see “pastors” taking money from little old ladies that can hardly pay their bills with their limited income. That infuriates me. I’ve stopped giving money to the Institutional church and have begun giving my money to the needy in my church community. A “pastor” should get a job and stop relying on the tithes and offerings from needy people. Another thing, the whole clergy/laity thing is not even biblical. It’s man-made.

  4. Mark says

    In re 9 & 10, every job I know of has increased the standards and the demands of the position. The ministry is no exception. For a long time an average man (men only at that time) could get some education, practice preaching in tiny churches, enter the ministry, and stay in the same pulpit for most of his life. This is now something that can enter the history books, like cheap houses, easy to obtain jobs, forty years with the same company, a gold pocket watch upon retirement, and a pension.

    However, the seminaries have some culpability in this too. I believe the fear of preventing someone from entering the ministry plus not wanting to be responsible for causing a shortage of ministers (since there were many small, rural churches), plus the preventing of women from entering seminary (which fortunately has about ended) led to the seminaries accepting people for study who probably should never have been admitted. Now some who should not have been admitted went on to do great work and others flopped. This will never be prevented but the ratio of successes to failures should be calculated and can be to some certainty. I would rather have a shortage of minsters/clergy than a glut of mediocre ones.

    Perhaps the standards for seminary admission should be raised. Somewhere during seminary should be a year long period to be spent in chaplaincy, a church, or something similar where the candidate has to demonstrate that he or she can work with people and where the practical aspects of ministry and clergy life are learned. Just because a candidate competes all the coursework for an M.Div. (the new de facto ministry credential) does not mean that he or she should be ordained. This practical knowledge can not be taught by lecturing nor is it found in any book.

    Also, does the seminary use active or retired minsters/clergy for practical training of new students or does it use faculty who may never have had to work to resolve a congregational dispute/rift? There is a big difference in have bible knowledge and knowing theoretical ministry and the reality of being a spiritual leader.

    Also, churches should be willing to allow seminary students to come and preach, especially during the summer. Give the minister a month off of preaching responsibilities and let the students have the pulpit. The minister can critique the sermon and help the student. The congregation will likely appreciate someone new there. Summers are generally less formal. I don’t believe I have ever seen this occur. Let the aspiring minster preach a sermon in front of a real congregation, not just his or her colleagues and professors.

    Lastly, there are some up and coming women in the seminaries who are top notch and are going to make some mediocre men look really bad. They will give everyone stiff competition, and I think the church will be better off for having them. The standards are about to get raised,

    • Lee says

      Many do. I had CPE requirements, and parish requirements under others, not to mention 3-4 years of having a mentor pre-ordination.

  5. says

    Sometimes pastors fail to do the hard work of loving discipline of unruly members. I have seen this peel off scabs and add authenticity to the Body. It’s very hard and very scary but it is also very biblical.
    Sometimes we as pastors act like the parent who wants to be friends with his kids no matter what they do. That never ends well.
    This may fall under the lack of leadership and emotional intelligence. It may also explain the growth of some churches that differentiate between a teaching pastor and a lead pastor.

  6. Lee says

    5.Social media encourages criticism from a distance:
    I have seen this before Facebook, … We live in a Hand grenade society. All you have to do is throw something (unverified, 1/2 truth, etc.) out there to see the explosion without having to get too dirty yourself. Example: At a budget meeting sometime ago, a member who loved to throw hand grenades made the comment, “you get a professional allowance, why so much for expenses in dealing with the youth? Oh, I didn’t see the time, I have to go.” he was the one that set up the “professional expenses” for books, retreats, … I have seen this pervasive in the church today, and only getting worse.

    • Mark says

      And did anyone call down the thrower of said grenade? People will push as much as they can until they get called to the carpet, then they will return to square 1.

      • Lee says

        Mark, No, no one called him on it or any of the other stuff he did there. To include the Sr. Pastor (I was associate at that church). Not even when he left a big note on the pulpit a Sunday the Sr. was out and it was my first time to preach in his place, as I was with the children’s time that read, “Hey stupid, keep it short”

        • Mark says

          I am not surprised. I don’t know the person’s age, but I remember being told not to upset the old people. I thought to myself, just why do they get to do anything they want without concern for anyone else affected because they are old? Unbeknownst to me at the time, I think I saw the beginnings of the intergenerational strife that is plaguing every organization today, including churches.

    • Bev says

      Sometimes, the people that throw hand grenades just need to get rid of it. What I mean is that they may see something amiss and are too timid to speak up about. When the problem persists and no one else seems to notice it or want to do anything about it, the pressure builds within the grenade-thrower and it finally gets thrown. They leave after throwing it to avoid the confrontation that they so fear. If they did not fear the confrontation, the problem would have been brought forward sooner without the use of hand grenades.

      • Mark says

        Perhaps some need to be taught how to respectfully argue. Jesus was not timid in the slightest. Perhaps a sermon on Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple with a whip is necessary.

  7. Gregory Lawhorn says

    I served for 12 years in a church where distrust in leadership was decades old and simply part of the DNA of the church. Whatever the reasons (it’s not for me to judge motives), it came out as a strong sense of ownership, each person acting like an unhappy investor rather than a member of a family.

    • Mark says

      Im serving in this type of Church right now. When we try to do something to make a change or improve things there is a great fuss that is caused. Our eldership stops anything to improve the church immediately because it might upset someone or because it is different than what they want. They also have shown a distrust and heavy hand on ministers.

      Unfortunately, often times a new minister coming in does not know of these issues until after they start and find themselves stopped from working. I was left feeling like I had no idea what I was doing and ready to leave ministry because our church continues to decline and I could not understand why all of my ideas were shot down and not allowed to be tried or canceled after we just started it. It was only after I was told that my predecessor had run a state church planting group before moving here and the church declined under him as well, that I started to think maybe I was not the problem. After taking a hard look at the issues we are having and reviewing them with others, including others in leadership at our church, I have come to realize the problem is a few key leaders (more specifically their wives) that feel they have paid for this church and they own it. The (unstated and unrealized) mission of these key leaders is to keep the church the same for them until they are no longer on this world but sadly they are killing the church by not allowing outreach.

      This was never more real to me than two days ago when I was told if I wanted to reach out to those outside of our church I was to do so by reaching out to people who have left our church only (or who have never been committed but attend occasionally), rather than reaching out to those who don’t know who Jesus is.

      • Mark says

        I am a different Mark.

        You need to read Jay Guin’s blog on what to do when you have bad leadership (elders/deacons, etc.). He blogs at oneinjesus.info. You’ll have to search for it but he wrote lots on it last year.

  8. Rhonda says

    #4 really to me seems to be the biggest issue. I’m a pastor’s wife 2 times, my late husband was a pastor of a huge church, and my current husband of a small rural church. It is the same. Few people doing everything, so naturally they are the targets. I notice the biggest complainers in my experience have been the ones who are not involved using their gifts. They want the church to be open every day of the week just incase they decide they need it for that particular time; but a commitment? I don’t see it except probably in 10% of the local congregation. My dad was a pastor too, so I’ve grown up in the church and really see that most of those who attend, feel its the “leaders” church when things go badly but “their” church when they want changes. My husband has really tried not to start any new program until he sees that leadership is in place and there is a need. We have been bullied and talked about and in our little congregation some have left and taken others with them because they believed it was time to start a new program, but were no where around when we needed leaders to help us. They wanted us to start it–and then guess who is stuck doing it when they don’t attend or decide to walk away. Most of those who left were not involved in helping. If you see something you don’t like, pray for us, ask us to pray for the possibility. Ask God if He wants you to head it up. If there is no one then pray until God provides that person. But when you leave, you hurt yourself and then you leave a hole and gifts that God could and would have used. You hurt us when you leave. Enuf said for now. :).

  9. Scott Cassel says

    As a part of a connectional denominational system, I have been disheartened by the baggage I am forced to carry because of what other pastors have done before me. I have fond myself saying, “But I’m not *some previous pastor’s name* frequently in my ministry. Not usually the galactic moral failures; more often small, unprofessional, uncaring, things that chip away, the respect and relationship for the position little by little. I think this list is accurate – and I think in many ways we have seen the enemy, and he is us. I pray that my actions/decisions/reactions/behavior in ministry are not destructive to my colleagues, present and future.

  10. Bob Ward says

    I like the Biblical solution; the qualifications for a pastor, staff, and members are listed there, follow the directions.
    I like the action plan that we can do now, pray for your pastor!
    Better yet, go visit him. Yes, YOU.
    Ask how you can pray for him; as he replies, look at him, listen to him, linger for a moment, imagine what it is like to be him for a day, not in the pulpit but in the throws of high drama with other peoples’ problems.
    Reach out to touch him, a pat on the back or a hug. Then encourage him, help him up off of the floor.
    Pray for him, pray with him. Have his back in prayer, it is a gift that money can not buy and you have it to give.
    Ask about his family here and elsewhere.
    Remember that he must minister to the most misunderstood, marginalized and under appreciated member of your congregation, his wife.
    If he makes much of Jesus, you make much of him!
    All of the above hinges on ONE thing for me, am I praying?

  11. Dawson says

    I’m in my first congregation – Richard Rohr comes to mind when he says that man is ultimately wound in his sexuality and his relationship with authority. I must say that I don’t feel so alone anymore when I see that the same struggles u face in America is just the same here in Africa. Is there still a future for the church or its authority? I don’t know – it seems more and more that the new “house of god” is the new mall around the corner – but I will always believe that we will never lose our love for the Word and its authority in our lives.

  12. Lucy says

    As newly weds, my husband and I had to make the heart breaking decision to leave the church where we were married. Despite the rumors swirling (started by none other than the pastor), we didn’t leave because of the church members. We left because of the pastor, his harsh leadership, his lack of love for the believers entrusted to him, his mis-use of the pulpit (it was used for his political views and not the preaching of the Word of God) and his unwillingness to respect the other men on staff at the church. Having walked through that, I do have trouble trusting pastors now. Thankfully, God opened the doors for us to attend a church where we already had connections and the pastor already knew us. This pastor has shown us love and is helping us heal. Pastors, watch yourselves carefully. The reason your congregation doesn’t trust you may be your predecessor or it may be you. However, I believe that in many cases, your faithfulness and your acts of love will help change the lack of trust. I know that that has been the case for us.

  13. says

    Wow! By the comments that are being posted you have struck a nerve and at the same time proved your 11 reasons. I also seem to think that there must be a variety of denominations represented in these comments and thus a different view of the role of pastor within each. As a pastor, I have had to struggle to not let the actions and attitudes of one church keep me from serving in my present position. I pray that those in the pew will do the same and not hold the faults of some pastors against us all. I pray that as pastors we will have the attitude of Christ and the example of Paul: “I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. 8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah.”–Ephesians 3:8-9

    By the way, thanks for I AM A CHURCH! We are going through it as a Church while I use your chapter headings as message titles. God is at work!

    • Mark says

      I can assure you there are more than baptists posting here. It is also to safe to presume that a lot of ministers and priests are getting sermon/Sunday school ideas from the comments. It is interesting that in one particular denomination known for its preaching on and love of Paul more so than Jesus, that this year will be spent on a study of Jesus. I believe it is safe to presume that someone read some of the blog comments where people are wanting to learn about Jesus and are going to other churches where the homilies are on Jesus and where the gospel is read every Sunday (liturgical).

  14. Bev says

    When I read number 4, the first thing I thought of was Ananias and Saphira. Then I read Melanie’s rant and I can understand her point of view, as well. So much depends on the specific situation or person. There are always exceptions.

  15. says

    Thom,
    This subject should cause self reflection in all of us. Having been in the ministry over 40 years I have observed a move away form the pastor as a shepherd to a focus on a leadership style that resembles the world. It is often coined as a “CEO” pastor though I feel that term is very strong. While pastors are to lead we must do so with compassion and vision casting. I have also observed a growing movement among pastors that they want to dedicate most of their time to the teaching and preaching ministry. I would encourage those that feel so led to move to an itinerant ministry.. The church today desperately needs pastors who are shepherds and understand the full skill set a pastor needs

  16. Larry Elrod says

    Thom,
    I think reason number twelve is that the world’s view of what a pastor is and the church’s view of what a pastor is and the seminary’s view of what a pastor is and the pastor’s view of what a pastor is does not line up with one another. The most popular pastors I know with growing churches are very similar in their life styles to the very people they are trying to encourage to be more selfless. We have become a society with a major disconnect between our heads and our hearts. Jesus quoted Isaiah in Matthew 15:7-9. 7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: 8 These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.” I know that I am one, when viewed with the eyes of someone who has truly given up everything to follow Jesus, who is also a hypocrite.

  17. Steve says

    I personally feel disheartened by the comments made here though none of them are directed at me. As a pastor, they always cut close because I know comments like these can be merely a breath away and made easily by those who may not know the whole story.

    My encouragement to all is simply to avoid jumping to conclusions about the integrity of a pastor without making inquiry. I know well that some of my members would consider me to be lazy because I don’t do enough XY or Z. Even during one of my performance evaluations with the church, I was told in the same meeting to pour a great deal of time into the church, more time visiting the members of the church, having an online blog, evangelizing to the lost, leading various different studies and membership classes, essentially be at the church every time the doors were opening, be faithful to the family, date nights with my wife, counseling with young couples, be involved with with unbelievers through organizational work, volunteer work, physical and spiritual exercises, conferences, sermons that will rattle hell out of the unsaved and… are you tried yet of reading this? I honestly try to pour as much as I can into my ministry without neglect to my first ministry of my family. But I can’t do it all. I have bad days where spiritual warfare is overwhelming and the demands so great it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve spend days before praying and reading the Word because that’s all I could do. But I’ve been called to this and He gives strength to endure.

    So please, else you find yourself bringing accusations with Satan, ask before you assume. A good pastor knows how to fulfill the first two commandments and does love the sheep entrusted to him.

    • says

      Hi Steve,

      Perhaps the dilemma and stress you (and many other pastors) face is because we have fallen into the trap of “doing church” contrary to the blueprint laid out for us by Christ and His Apostles in the New Testament. In the NT there was no clergy and laity division – all disciples were priests unto Christ. Those who were appointed by Christ to be pastors, teachers, apostles, evangelist, and prophets were to be servants rather than “leaders.” There purpose was not to run the church – it was to so minister to and serve the members of Christ’s Church so they would come into the fullness of the ministry to which God had called them. In other words “make disciples” who would do the work of the ministry (preaching and witnessing the gospel and making disciples – as well as ministry to the Body of Christ).

      What makes us, as ministers, think that we are responsible for doing all the visitation, all the teaching, all the evangelizing, all the outreach, all the hospitality, etc.? What can’t we allow other disciples of Christ to come into the ministries God has called them to within the Church?

      Perhaps we’ve bought into the fallacy of the world’s modus operandi that one must have specialized training and university degrees and become a professional before they can have a place of ministry in the church. I guess Christ didn’t get the memo on that one.

      Why can’t we just learn what God’s way is of doing God’s work and then do it? As I’ve grown older (having entered pastoral ministry almost 39 yrs. ago) and as the Lord has taught me by His Word, by His Spirit, and by His leading, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of His Church is not operating by the blueprint He set down.

      At the top of the blueprint is that it is HIS CHURCH and He promised that HE WOULD BUILD it. What kind of pride makes us think that WE can build His Church?

      Perhaps, if we would do the work He’s called us to, by following His blueprint and His specific Holy Spirit leading for us individually, we wouldn’t have the time pressures and responsibility pulls many now face.

      • Mark F says

        Wayne,

        The problem is often times not that the minister has fallen into that trap of doing all of these things. The problem is more often that the elders and deacons have fallen into that trap and the pastor has no way to keep from doing them all if they want to be able to lead the church and try to correct these problems.

        I was told this same thing by my elders in two seperate meetings this week.

        • Mark says

          Then it sounds like some new leadership is needed. Recently Pope Francis told some of the Curia that they could go take turns hearing confession. They acted shocked and he reminded them bluntly that they were not EU bureaucrats.

        • Wayne Greulich says

          Yes, Mark, the fallacy is systemic in the church.
          I can’t speak to a specific situation without knowing all the details.
          However, I believe that pastors are still part of the problem. We can sit back and put the blame on others within the church – or we can seek out Christ’s design for His Church, live it as best we can, preach it, teach It, and make disciples – all under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
          One of the largest hindrances to the Church reforming to the NT’s blueprint is that most of us aren’t being disciples after Christ. Am I actively forsaking ALL to follow Him? Is my thinking and living that of a servant – or do I want to control and/or “lord it over” others in the church? Do I think and live as equals with all in the church or do make the unscriptural distinction of clergy and laity? Am I living as a part of the Body/Church of Christ as described in the NT (e.g. do I love my brother or sister in Christ enough that I am willing to give up my material/physical wants to meet his/her material needs?)?
          Breaking with the traditional church and it’s institutional system in order to be reformed to the NT blueprint is not easy. For example, the NT church met together in homes; they ate their meals together; and each born-again, Spirit-filled member of Christ’s Body was to participate in each “service” (1 Corinthians 14:26).
          Is it even possible to fulfill these last two characteristics in many churches today? It would be impossible both logistically and philosophically. Logistically most churches are too large for the latter example to be implemented. Philosophically, our entire system of “doing church” would have to be changed.
          This would most surely mean that Christ’s Church would very seldom have a building as most fellowships of believers do today. First, we don’t see any design or example of that in the NT. Secondly, how many billions (and perhaps trillions) of dollars are invested in “church” buildings and properties? Would we not be closer to Christ’s design of His Church if we instead used that money and resources to minister to the needs of the poor, or to invest in missions, evangelism, and NT discipling?
          This doesn’t even take into consideration the billions of dollars spent each year on maintaining church buildings and properties – not to mention the spending of human resources and time spent on these things.
          Speaking of the waste of time and resources, how many resources, both of money and people’s time and energy is spent on programs thought up and designed by man? I’ve come to realize that unless the Holy Spirit births and grows any ministry, it is a waste of all which goes into it. Only that born of Christ’s Spirit will bring forth any fruit which is eternal. All else is futile.
          Yes, it is systemic that the church has modelled itself away from the NT blueprint to such a degree that to return to it would be radical, rejected by most married to their religious traditions, and persecuted by the religious hierarchy – even as Christ, His apostles, and His disciples were in their times.
          Christ has taken me, as a 20-yr. ordained pastor (plus pastoring 2 other churches in 2 different denominations), on a very long, arduous journey to be able to break away from man’s creation of the church and to be brought to perceive, understand, and implement Christ’s blueprint for both discipleship and Christ’s Church (23 years, and I’m still relearning what Christ and the Apostles laid out for us in the Scriptures.
          With what He has taught me, however, I have to wonder if most institutional churches can be reformed into that which Christ designed to be His Church? I don’t think so. Christ, in addressing a similar issue stated that one cannot put new wine into old wineskins and if such were attempted both would be destroyed. No, new wine must be put into new wineskins.
          The primary starting point, though, is to discover, in the Scriptures, what Christ’s design is for His Body – especially as depicted in local fellowships of believers (local ekklesia).
          May our Father bless you and lead you by His Spirit into all truth.

          • Jeff F says

            Thanks, Wayne. Well put. After dedicating the last 46 years of my life to serving the Lord and His church — and intending to do that for the rest of my life — I agree.

      • Johnny says

        I have read heartbreaking things on this blog. I have been a pastor for a long time and have served in various size churches. I love my family, church family, and tell them often. However, I don’t just tell them, I show them. Encouragement from the pastor and love from the pastor goes a long way. I found out a long time ago that I can not change one person or situation. I serve the one who can. He is all I need. Each of us need to go back and study the book of Collosians. There we are reminded that Jesus is all we need.

        I do not conduct business meetings at our church because I am the Spirtitual leader and not the Business leader. That is what the church elects committees to do. Also, we have Deacon Ministry, where they actually serve families. Pastor, when we lead in the Spiritual world as we are called to do, we find we have more than we can handle. Yes, I serve my family as I take those that need help to the doctor or hospitals, assist them in getting their social security and retirements together, feed the hungry and serve the poor.

        Along with pastoring my mother church, God has blessed us to plant two churches and I pastor a small church because they need one to serve them as well. I am an unusual Southern Baptist as I pastor four churches and oversee a Compassion Ministry.

        We are called to plant the seed only. If we can train others to share the load, we need to; however, if we can’t, pray for workers to come and take hold of the ministry Christ has for them. By the way, we are a church that averages 120 in worship and less in Sunday School. We try our best to serve the Lord and for those of you that wonder if we have problems; We are a church and yes we do have problems but we work them out. Pastors, use your deacons and if that doesn’t work, go to the church.

        When we love people as Christ loves them and see them as the crown of his creation and that we are the only created beings that he wants to love and have fellowship with, we understand and love people regardless of thier circumstances and the way they live thier lives.

        Finally, I love PASTORS AND CHRISTIAN PEOPLE BUT I ALSO LOVE THE LOST. I preach on Hell because Hell is a real place and people go there because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. No one is too bad or too dirty for Jesus. He will save them if they come to him. We must not try to be in a sterile field as churches but go out into the highways and byways to bring folks to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I was raised in a pastor’s home and have seen first hand what the older days were like and now I am living in the more modern days. Some people and things are the same but I find if I love them and work with them to bring them closer to Christ, HE always intervenes on his behalf.

        Praying for all of you that have written on this blog. I love you through the love fo our Master. None of us have or ever will feel the hurt of Christ and I agree with Paul, “I find joy in sharing in the suffering of our Lord.” He has done great things and will continue to do so if we only follow him.

    • Mark says

      Thank you Steve!

      I had our church elder last week confront me at a meeting about spending too much time at XYZ place where I am involved with the community. In the next breath they asked if anyone had contacted the first new person who has attended from the community in about 9 months. Where did this person work? You guessed it XYZ, I have been very intentional to spend time with the employees at XYZ because I have been gaining a relationship with them.

      One of these elders then went into the community the next day and ran his mouth about me being sick earlier in the week but not too sick to do ABC, yet he never talked to me about it to find out that the Dr had changed my medication to help me and I started feeling better just an hour before I did ABC. Had he even bothered to come and talk to me he would have known this answer and would have known I did much less than normal when doing ABC.

        • Mark says

          Should and will are two different stories. This elder has influence with the others and has unfortunately been this way for years, which is part of why many of our other elders act this way. These activities cause churches to die and this just proves point 11. The church I am serving is dying and a few of us are trying to turn it around, but the eldership is not allowing it because if new people were to be brought into the church they may become leaders and “the old guard” would lose control.

          Many dying churches are dying because of lay leaders that have a death grip on the church and run off any future leaders that may come along.

          • Mark says

            What methods do you have, if any, for removing a deacon/elder? I know some churches use a reaffirmation vote every so many years. Some have no method.

          • Mark says

            Every few years our leaders must be reaffirmed and must also take a sabbatical year. The problem, is, that if they are due for sabbatical the leadership group will decide to keep them on and vote them on without following the set rule because they are above the rules. It really is a sickening process to watch. further more I can not understand why any church would have well more than 10% in leadership. Are there churches that need more than 10% of the congregation as elder and need to have deacons on top of that?

            To me our process seems to have become a “good ole boys club” instead of a church leadership. I have spoken this as have other elders, yet when the majority of the eldership is functioning this way and they are the ones who would have to remove their own unruly members, well… we have all seen how that goes.

          • Wayne Greulich says

            For what it’s worth, I believe the Bible instructs us to take several actions.
            One is to publicly rebuke the elder for his sin (1 Timothy 5:20). If he rejects such correction then he is to be ousted from the fellowship (Titus 3:10; Matthew 18:15-17).
            Such actions, however, may not be possible due to your church tradition or man-made articles of governance. The Scriptures give further instruction which may then apply to your situation – Romans 16:17-18 tells us to separate ourselves from such people.
            I realize this may mean a radical move and huge change in your life. Remember, though, that being and living as a disciple of Christ (as described in the NT) is radical, contrary to conventional “wisdom,” and yet commanded by Christ (e.g. Luke 14:26-33, especially v.33).
            You have my prayers, brother.

    • says

      Yes, you’re right. Two scriptures that many church members today find nearly incomprehensible are:
      1 Timothy 5:19 — that an accusation against an elder ought not to be accepted unless it is confirmed by two or more witnesses; today, many people think that they can think the worst of their pastors based on rumors.
      Hebrews 13:17 — that the elder really is a God-given authority in the lives of church members to which they owe submission and obedience. Now listen for the reflexive accusations that this is cultic:

      • Mark says

        Yes, those verses are legitimate, but there are times that elders just don’t care. They might not be committing a sin per se but they are just burned out and have no time for anything but pure church business. Also, some are full of power and enjoying it too much to ever step down.

  18. Kevin Billiot says

    Melanie needs to grasp that her form of self-righteous religion is worthless in God’s eyes and will end in death. (Lk. 18:9-14)

    • Tony says

      Kevin. Actually, I agree with Melanie. After I saw the state of local churches and the apathy of the “laity” I realized that the biggest problem was the pastor. The modern pastor has bitten more than he can chew. They wanted ultimate power to control a group of people and they have failed as spiritual leaders. Clergy/laity is not even biblical. The thing we call “church” is not organic. It is man-made and man must continue to give CPR to keep it alive. It is unnatural in the spiritual realm. I know you probably don’t understand what I’m talking about, but you must go back in the history of the Church. you’ll find that a lot of the stuff we do is stuff that was added on little by little.

  19. says

    While there may be some validity to what is discussed in this blog, I think the focus is in the wrong place.

    What is it that we should be concerned with what anyone thinks of us? There is One we ought to seek to please. If we seek His approval we ought not to seek the approval of any other.

    Our example is Christ. He sought to please no one except His heavenly Father. It mattered not to Him that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious people didn’t like Him or approve of Him. Likewise with those who followed Him [In John 6 many who were His disciples became offended at His teaching and left Him, never to follow Him again; In John 8, when Christ spoke the Truth to those Jews who believed on Him, they responded by taking up stones to stone Him].

    It matters not what education or lack thereof one has; if one is called and taught of God and he or she faithfully follows their Master, then nothing else will matter either in this life or in eternity – regardless of who approves or it or likes it or not.

    Let us seek to walk in the steps of our Master, for to this each disciple is called (1 Peter 2:21-25).

  20. Mike says

    Wow, Melanie, nice rant. Your tone will stop ppl from listening to you right off the bat. There is some truth to what you say, but it’s only a small % of pastors who are that way. You’re not Christlike at all. You might do some things to help the poor, but there is a tremendous amount of negativity in your spirit. Pastors are frequently criticized & need more support & encouragement than what you imply. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but I don’t excuse your rant either.

  21. Mike says

    Also to Melanie: There are a lot of pastors, in this country, who have challenges, which you have no idea about, nor compassion. Churches & pastors ought to work together to solve these challenges, but your approach won’t get it done. It just is alienating & very disrespectful.

    • April says

      I totally get what Melanie is saying. Her “rant” is what struck a chord with me. The people on here who keep telling Melanie that she isn’t Christlike really need to look at themselves. Just because she doesn’t act like your idea of a Christian, doesn’t mean she isn’t one. Furthermore, to have you sit in judgment after a paragraph is ridiculous. Maybe she had a really bad day and took it out on this blog. Maybe she found out some horrible news and couldn’t process it well. Or maybe she’s had it up to her eyeballs with Christians who act like they’re better than she is and she blew up. We’re supposed to remember that preachers aren’t perfect and that they’re sinners, but we can’t give other people on a blog the same courtesy? Honestly reading the sanctimonious comments by the few of you who made them reminded me why I quit attending church. Maybe you all need to worry about the floods in your own houses before you come over and tell me that mine is unsafe.

  22. says

    Fantastic post. I could comment on all of the points, but #3 really stood out to me. It seems that tenure is a circular issue these days. At least where we minister (Canada) a lot of the smaller churches go without pastors for long periods of time. This gives the deacons more power than they should have, and then when they do get a pastor the deacons don’t want to release their power. So the pastors don’t stay long because they get stopped at every level by deacons. Then the deacons gain their power back because the pastor didn’t stay. It’s a vicious cycle that is very hard to break. A saying that we hear a lot around here is “People stay, pastors leave.” Sad, but true, especially in a culture where no one moves away and the pastor is the outsider…forever and always.
    Thanks for writing so frankly. I share your burden. And I hear from the hurting pastors’ wives on a daily basis. Heartbreaking, but by God’s grace I will attempt to make a difference!

  23. Heartspeak says

    Yikes! I continue to read about really sicko churches here. I’ve always known they were out there but it is grievous to me nonetheless. I understand the challenge presented when a pastor knows that speaking and doing what is necessary will result in the loss of a paycheck. But some churches need a frank, direct talk straight from the pulpit no matter what the consequences are. They will die anyway and the pastor will lose his job eventually either due to the death of the church or due to their eventually eating him up. It’s just hard to knowingly bring it on oneself when the rent and car payment are due next month…

    This dilemma so many pastors are facing seems to me to be a result of a broken or wrong concept of what a local church should be about. I seriously doubt that ‘double honor’ really means ‘give him a paycheck’. It leads to all kinds of problems. Nobody really wants to deal with this but maybe it’s time. There are a lot of churches across the country who continue to bring shame to the Name. Time to overturn some tables I think. Tolerating sin amongst ourselves is not the answer. I would far, far prefer to lose my job for speaking truth than keep my job and not dare to speak truth. But then, that’s just me.

    Btw. Melanie may not be so far off and I cringe more from the posts of those who are taking her to task both publicly and without knowing her. Really people??? That’ll get her to change her mind. Yup. You’re proving her point!

    Dear God, forgive us our sins! I’ve been reading the comments here for a while and they reveal the dirty underbelly of the American church. Wounded and hurting servants, sanctimonious, self absorbed ones and story after story of entire congregations permitted to roll over folks. The ‘state’ of the American church is being discussed these days in many blogs by many people, when do the ‘leaders’ determine that there has to be a new approach to business as usual.

    Sorry, Thom, I’m pretty frustrated and disgusted. I’d give anything to see this all change. Anything! As, no doubt, would you.

    • says

      Do you really not see the contradiction between immediately saying you are willing to be unemployed for speaking the truth to refusing to tell Melanie the truth about her sin? Melanie is flouting the Lordship of Jesus by refusing to abide by His command in Hebrews 10:25. And yet instead of telling her the truth — thus risking losing her approval — you chide those who would tell her the truth.
      The reality is that you are acting exactly like the kind of people who undermine pastors today: believing everything any disgruntled person claims while ignoring the open sin of those making the complaints.

      • Heartspeak says

        John, let’s be clear. It’s the use of this forum to chastise Melanie that is my greatest objection. Her sentiment and pain are real and need to be understood by many leaders, not just condemned by them. There’s Melanie in every community and close to someone in every church. It is up to the local believers who know her to love her and gently show her what ‘can be’ rather than for a bunch of strangers to pile on her and tell her how she ‘should’ feel..

        • says

          It was quite abusive, too. Her experience is her own, it is valid, and it isn’t anybody’s place to chide her. And instead of hearing her pain and anger, way too many Christians just pile on her to argue about her “tone” or showing negative emotions at all. I see this tendency to circle the wagons and open fire at dissenters as a big reason why Christianity’s having the struggles it is right now. Of course it’s hard to hear criticism of something dear to someone’s heart, but defensiveness doesn’t strike me as a particularly Christian virtue. What do I know though? So I thank you for speaking up for Melanie. Until more Christians stand against emotional abuse, it’ll keep getting worse.

    • Mike says

      Yes, people like Melanie need to be cared for. But it’s so easy to be critical of pastors. Sometimes, they get unfair or baseless criticisms because they’re easy targets. If people can’t see this or admit it, then they’re blind. Bottom line.

  24. says

    Great list Mr. Rainer! If I could add one more to the lists of why the world trust less of Pastors, at times I am amazed that some people have not even heard of what a Pastor is or do. Kind of hard to have trust shown for someone you really don’t know what their role is in society

  25. Mike says

    Heartspeak, why the lecture to pastors? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you not understand the state of many churches in America today? Your labels are really nice. I am not against you, but let’s try to have a respectful discussion here.

  26. Mike says

    Melanie, I am sorry for lecturing you above. There was a kernel of truth to what I said (on 1-2 statements that I made), but at the same time, too, I was too blunt & shouldn’t have chastised you. I apologize if you had a bad experience, in a church, & I pray that God’s blessings be upon you in the future.

  27. says

    I don’t think ministers have nearly enough emotional support from their congregations. I am fortunate enough to number some really great pastors and ministers among my close online friends, have clergy in my immediate family, and when I was a Christian, I was married to a minister. It’s a system that is doomed to fail, I’m afraid. These folks get trained in whatever theology their seminaries and denominations like, but they’re thrown under the bus once they get into churches. They’re not allowed to show any sort of human weakness or needs. Then everybody gets shocked when they go nuts or develop some kind of weird addiction. Congregations turn on their ministers on a dime, going from 0 to 120 almost instantaneously, and treat them like slaves or worse, and then wonder why all these constant dramas come out of pastors’ offices.

    Ministry isn’t like any other job. You can be a call-center drone and not believe in your product. You can be a salesperson for anything but a god and be able to fake it. But you can’t be a minister without being 100% “on” all the time. You’re not allowed to relax or have a beer. You’re not allowed to go to a psychologist or a massage therapist. You’re not allowed to need to talk to anybody for help. It’s just heart-wrenching. I’m just glad my online friends have people they can secretly talk to, like me, but I wish there were more I could do besides lend an ear and moral support. Most congregations are happy to take, take, take from their ministers, but very few understand how to give–and the two-facedness and petty politics that goes on in churches is just unbelievable to anybody who’s not intimately connected with it.

    Ministry itself attracts only a couple different sorts of people–predators/conjobs, or else really sincere folks who are doing the best they can, like my friends and family seem to be. And congregations seem singularly incapable of telling the difference between those two groups. I just don’t think the current models of ministry really work for ministers themselves. Very few people fit the perfect Ken Doll mold that most denominations seem to outline for their leaders.

    • says

      Online still has a degree of anonymity. Pastors need people fully present in their lives.
      The web site above has some current thoughts on FRIENDSHIP for pastors.
      It’s part of THE ESSENTIALS ministry of Renovator Ministries check it out Captain!

      • says

        Thanks, George, and I totally agree. I think more pastors need friends. Pastors can’t really admit weakness or find help without it getting out and then the church turns on them like any pack of wild dogs sensing weakness in its alpha. Ministers need to be able to access resources to help keep their morale and spirits high. Churches chew pastors up and spit them out, and even as a Christian I never really thought about how to help keep my pastor’s spirits up. It was mind-blowing, the day he sighed and told me and my husband (his youth pastor) that he was really struggling. In the many years since that afternoon, I’ve heard from plenty of other ministers who struggled just like him, and nothing’s really improved. If I could suggest anything to churches today, to Christians today, it’d be to recognize that their leaders are just folks like them, and they’re carrying a lot of burdens–and they need to be able to reach out for help when those burdens get to be too much.

        • says

          Captain:

          You are as well right on. We are praying many pastors begin to sit and be still and let the Master show them the way forward, then act with courage knowing the Kingdom of God is the safest place on Earth. As in all things a presence filled relationship with the Trinity is the answer.

  28. Jason says

    I would add to this thread something I have heard being a pastor. Some have said they cannot trust pastors because they have used churches as stepping stones to bigger and better ministries. Just as pastors are getting started, they make changes and then leave the church to a better paid, better compensated church. In my time hearing this my heart breaks knowing this reality. However, I have also realized this and held back from making changes and earned the right to help the church by listening, loving , learning. Each allows me the opportunity to then truly lead with trust of the people.

    • says

      You’re right. Professionalism is a problem. But churches that hire (rather than “call”) and treat their pastor like an employee, shouldn’t be surprised when he acts like an employee.

  29. says

    I believe the list misses a couple of major points:

    12. The aversion to authority instilled by our culture. The pastor is an authority figure and so is naturally suspected.

    13. The failed experiment with omitting church discipline. About a century ago churches in the USA thought they’d try to organize the church differently than the Lord Jesus described (Mt. 18:16ff) by omitting the practice of church discipline. It’s like trying gardening without doing anything to suppress weeds. Now many churches are over-grown with people who, in the 19th century and earlier, would have been confronted about their sin and expelled if they didn’t repent. So the shepherd is trying to lead a flock of goats with some wolves mixed in, with predictable results.

    14. The loss of the ideal of regenerate church membership. Revivalism gave us the quest to accept anyone in the church as a member who would ask for it. The result is churches with members who aren’t truly converted. See “Revival and the Unregenerate Church Member” by Jim Elliff: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ref-rev/08-2/8-2_elliff.pdf.

  30. Greg says

    I would love to see a follow-up article on how to combat this, perhaps focusing on number nine, the lack of leadership and emotional maturity. This is where I failed when I was a pastor and what I need to work on most so I can return to my calling equipped.

  31. RD says

    There is also the rising trend of non-belief, at least in the US and Europe: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

    This is a good thing. We have a younger generation who is learning more about empirical evidence and science. We no longer need “faith” in outdated & dogmatic religions. We can live happy and compassionate lives with other humans on this planet without fighting over whose ancient book is correct or whose god is the correct god.

    Religion is a cultural phenomenon from a time when the world was a very confusing and dangerous place. When we didn’t understand that the lightning in the sky was just a storm causing large electrical fields to be generated – not some god who was angry with us. A person’s religion is more often than not determined by where they were raised. Middle East countries typically believe in Islam while the US tends towards Christianity. Picking the “correct belief” is usually just the luck of where you were born or the community you were raised in.

    Sometimes we see industries decline (rotary phones, typewriters, etc) and I think it’s about time we see the decline in churches, religions and their leaders.

    • Mark says

      Science does not have to clash with religion. The two can support each other, not fight each other. Some on both sides force the two to fight, when it is not necessary.

  32. Tim Collins says

    It is not surprising that the world in general doesn’t trust pastors for the reasons you stated, not to mention the Biblical doctrine of natural enmity. However, more worrisome is that fact that many professing Christians do not trust pastors much, and for some of those same reasons. But there are other reasons that haven’t been mentioned at all. Here’s just a few of them, found even among some of those who espouse sound Protestant doctrine: too many pastors meddling in politics, political controversy, or partisan party advocacy; their perceived identification not with the poor of this world, nor even with the lower middle class, but with the more prosperous economic end of the spectrum (compare that to the social appeal of this new Popish antichrist); the rise of “female” pastors, and women in pulpits, which is obviously contrary to clear Scripture; the collegial “darest thou teach us” or ‘circle the wagons’ response of many pastors to criticism; and related to that, the flood of false doctrine flowing out of the mouths of so many celebrated American “pastors,” their hand-in-hand fellowship with Roman Catholics, and the general kid glove approach to confronting these false prophets by those who do know the truth; hard to imagine Luther or Calvin, or John Wesley being so gentle, nor, for that matter, the apostles or our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude, Matthew 23). The remedies to these things are obvious. Stop doing them.

  33. mosquito says

    The main reason why I don’t trust a number of pastors is that they get up in the pulpit and preach what they have made up instead of what is in the text of Scripture.

  34. Frederika says

    Many of the comments made me very sad. As the wife of a pastor for more than 45 years and having seen the culture changes, I can empathize with the 11 original points. Church members have higher expectations and want more input. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. I still think that a minister can make a lot of mistakes if he has love for his people and they can detect that he is denying himself – that he is a true follower of Jesus. Church members will forgive a lot and put up with a lot if they can feel their minister loves them and is concerned for their eternal well-being and he has a servant heart. Another note I miss in the list is a sense of calling, such as ministers and missionaries (used to?) have. Taking their cue from the Scripture (the prophets and apostles), they knew that it would not be easy to lead a congregation (remember Moses?), but they had counted the costs and they felt called to a life of difficulties, even death. And lastly, ministers’ wives can be a great hindrance or an indispensable help.

    • says

      Fredericka,
      You are quite right about the sense of divine calling to the ministry; today many seem to think of it, or, at least, sometimes give the impression that is some sort of a professional activity. And as to being a pastor’s wife, who can be either a great hindrance or an indispensable help, here’s something on that note that I think will cheer you up a bit.
      http://bibletruthchatroom.com/2013/11/an-appreciation-of-preachers%e2%80%99-wives/

      • Frederika says

        Thank you. God bless you in helping pastors and church members to look at their problems in the light of Scripture. If we are the Lord’s people, we are on a journey on which God is teaching us through the “good and the bad” He places on our path (Rom.8:28). It seems we all are desperately in need of the self-denying and sacrificial love of Christ who died for carping and complaining sinners, like we are by nature.
        P.S. I’m new on your blog. Do you have any advice for a retired pastor’s wife who wants to be active in the local church, but doesn’t want to “step on anyone’s toes” – especially of the new pastor and his wife?

        • says

          Well, Fredericka, I don’t know that I have any advice other than what you will find in the Bible itself, and most especially Judges 5:7, where Deborah refers to herself as “a mother in Israel.” I don’t mean that a woman should arise as did Deborah to leadership in that particular, and most exceptional circumstance, but to be a “mother in Israel” in broadest sense of the phrase. Anna, in the New Testament (Luke 2:36 & 37), was, in that sense, such a mother. And, by implication, we hear of others in I Timothy 5:2 & 10. As to my blog, well, here are two more on the role of women.
          http://bibletruthchatroom.com/2011/11/female-piety/
          http://bibletruthchatroom.com/2011/11/the-ministry-of-motherhood/
          If you tour the sitemap you can see all the previous posts (about 300 now), and there is usually a new post published every 4 days.

  35. Donnie C. Brannen says

    I think #4 is huge. When “The User-Friendly Church” came out in the early-90s, a friend of mine pointed to it and said, “You know what we’re going to have if that thing takes off? Churches full of users.” We’ve unfortunately created a generation that knows little about servanthood and much about “serve-me-hood,” and they wander from church to church like tumbleweeds, rootless and fruitless, always looking for a better deal.

  36. Randy Plunkett says

    In the last 27+ years I have been pastor of three churches. I have been at my current church 7+ years. I was at my first full time church (served as a church planter before that) after seminary for 16 years. I have said all of that to say this: My experience with the people of God in his church has been overwhelmingly positive and I fully believe that when church members know that their pastor loves them and cares for them, they will love him back and yes, trust him. Most of the pastors I know and associate with have good relationships with their congregations and while I know that there are exceptions; for the most part if you treat people with respect and love they will support you and love you back.

  37. steven says

    As a pastor for twent-five I can say I love being a pastor because I know I am doing what God has called me to do and It is wonderful to see lives changed. However, if it were not for those two things, I could not and would not be a pastor. I do not have time to talk about all the stuggles that I have faced, most of which I believe is related to an unbilical structure of the chruch. I will say, as a father of three young boys, that one of my greatest joys in to think that God would call one or all of my sons to pastor a church. At the same time, one of my biggest fears is the thought that God may call one of my sons to be a pastor.

  38. says

    We have found that people look down on Pastor’s because they have been HURT by Pastors & OR people in the church! We have found that some Pastor’s greed gets in the way & because of that greed, they don’t make Biblical decisions when dealing with those in their churches. They know WHO GIVES WHAT! People are hurt & leave. After awhile, it is hard to trust Pastor’s OR other’s in the church anymore! We know there are GOOD PASTOR’S OUT THERE! We just don’t know WHERE TO FIND THEM! It’s hard to keep looking for a church, because you have to INVEST yourself into a church, BEFORE you discover you’re in THE WRONG CHURCH! It is an AWFUL UPHEAVAL to a family, when their children have made friends! USUALLY, if you don’t go to that particular church, people don’t want to associate with you! People in the church have the SAME MENTALLITY of THE WORLD, they don’t STRIVE TO BE LIKE JESUS anymore! It’s SAD & it’s SCARY!!!!

  39. Stephanie says

    What if the real problem is that the majority of ‘Christians’ don’t even understand why and what they believe?? By that I mean, it should be taught where the origin of The Bible comes from. The Catholic Church and its influence on most of the churches that worship on ‘Sunday’. Why Sunday? Where did this come from? What about all the missing writings about the ‘leader’ or who should be the ‘leader’, the one we’re told to ‘follow’…what about him and his true identity? Why do we support a ‘White Jesus’? It is the TRUTH about these things and so much more that will set people FREE. The world sees us as HYPOCRITES because we follow blindly and allow this foolishness to continue. EVERYTHING can be traced back to its original purposes and how it should function. Forget what man made up (for control and power) it seems, looking at Constatine, and the little bit I’m learning, and teach people how to have a powerful, fulfilling, one-on-one relationship with the Creator/God, not ‘busy’ in church but in their homes, raising their children, loving their communities, helping the poor on their own….living from the HEART!!!

  40. Anita says

    Fredericka,

    It’s refreshing to read your question about having a place in your local church after serving in leadership. After the tenure that you and your husband have had there, I’m sure this is a tight place to be.

    Before I say what my intentions are to say, let me be clear. I have watched women in your shoes take it upon themselves to go into the pastorate to Serve after their late husband. I believe this is totally contrary to scripture as women were not to have any roll as far as governing the church was concerned.

    I am not in the “ministry” per se but grew up in a pastor’s home. One of the most dreadful pastorates he ever took was one where the founding pastor had recently died and his widow ran the church while men of her choosing did the preaching. My dad agreed to “help the church” for a while as he was more seasoned and she had run off the first innocent preacher who tried to “help.”

    I am thankful that God gave my dad wisdom in keeping us protected from her, as our lives were overwhelmed by her strong arm and opinions in the church. No matter how right the Word being preached was, or how out of line she was in her attitude, there was a 40 year old relationship with the people that she could manipulate any way she wanted. Fortunately my dad’s tenure there lasted only a year. However, I learned a lesson from that one woman that is still very active in my life 20 years later.

    I am now a lay member of my church – no longer under the pastorate of my father. I have a younger pastor who is quite different in his role as leader than my father was. There are times I think to myself that I wonder if the outcome might be a little different if he handled situations a little differently and vice versa…. Would the outcome be a little different if my dad would have done it that way…. But with that being said, my current pastor has no doubt that my husband and I stand behind him fully and that he has no reason to worry that we will be any sort of a problem for him. That being said, our pastor is not a bully who uses the pulpit and position for his power fix. The comment to follow is considering your next pastor does not do the same…

    The greatest asset you can be in your church is to be your new pastor’s biggest fan…. Showing him your devout support and love….(people of your position can be very intimidating for a new pastor). I almost guarantee if you do this, it’s very likely the people you have served for this many years will line up behind you to follow your influence in being his encourager. Right by yourself, you have the ability to help him succeed and further the kingdom of God or single handedly destroy his ministry. I think there’s no greater work you could do in your church in the absence of your husbands ministry. If the new guy fails, so will the work that your husband spent his life working to build. You can continue to build on what your husband has built by letting your new pastor take full control of the reins and follow the leading of God. Change is hard for some people but sometimes getting uncomfortable leads us to places and people we would have never gone otherwise.

    Just the fact that you are asking your question leads me to believe that you have a heart that is pliable and willing to do whatever it takes to make his job easier. Reassure him that you will not undermine his ministry / leadership and that he has your full support and stick to it!! You have the ability to be the greatest blessing his ministry has ever known if you truly have the heart to do the right thing. And I think you do!! Go be a blessing!!

    • Frederika says

      Hi Anita,
      Thank you for relating your experiences and gentle reply. You guessed right, I do want to do the right thing because at one time my husband pastored in a church where the former pastor and his wife retired. There were a few problems and the elders stepped in. We also were in a church where the former pastor’s wife was exemplary and she was constantly held up for me to follow. I have cried a few tears, but later onI saw that as part of God’s plan to teach me and to challenge me to grow. So, now we are in this position ourselves. We have thought about changing church membership, but the closest church also has a retired minister’s couple who have their ties to this congregation. I am involved in extra-church activities and have many outside interests, but I also feel the need to belong and be part of a church fellowship. Are there any other ministers’ wives who have been on this path?

  41. says

    I am greatly saddened and grieved at the lack of authentic Christian leadership in the body of Christ. I believe most importantly, that Christ is very grieved . Christian leaders are called lead to by example. It is easy to preach a sermon if you love Christ and know His word but Christian leaders are not teaching authentic Christianity nor are they truly living and abiding in Christ. 50 percent of protestants are now adhering to Universalism, a very dangerous school of thought that is misleading many people. Furthermore, due to dangerous “Christian Propaganda,” that many believers have experienced over the years has caused much concern, if you will. I like what Chuck Swindoll said on one of his devotionals and it is so very true. Legalism damages people because it takes away from the Good News of the Gospel! How many churches are teaching legalism which is the law!!!! I have been literally shocked by personal experience concerning false teaching, grave harm —and the Lord indeed calls His children to develop proper discernment and wisdom! Believers must look to Jesus and never to a pastor to guide them unless they have a Bible with them if they dare sit under a Chrisian Leader! He is the Head!!! However, remember what Jesus said in the Gospels? He said many false prophets will come and deceive even the elect if possible, people will become lovers of themselves. An authentic Christian leader will always point others to Christ not to themselves, will lead by example as the Apostle Paul demonstrated and ought to properly equip believers. I think every believer should pray for pastors in America and around the world but sadly where are the Christian Leaders, where are the Shepherds????? As the body of believers, we should always attend church to give grace not to look to receive self-centeredly and never ever look to the pastor as the final authority! Leaders are deceiving believers. You have some wonderful points but your points are not a total representation of what is truly going on the body of Christ, if you will. God bless……I give you Chuck Swindoll’s thoughts:

    Forgotten Words

    “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 20:26). ~Matthew 20:26; III John 1:9-10

    Forgotten words.

    Truth be told, even in our churches we tend to get so caught up in a success-and-size race that we lose sight of our primary calling as followers of Christ. The “celebrity syndrome” so present in our Christian thought and activities just doesn’t square with the attitudes and messages of Jesus. We have skidded into a pattern whereby the celebrities and top dogs in our church life call the shots . . . and it is difficult to be a servant when you’re used to telling others what to do.

    Maybe I need to clarify what I mean. In the body of Christ, there is one Head. Christ Jesus is Lord of His body.

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:15–18)
    No human being dare take that position. A man named Diotrephes, mentioned in verses 9 and 10 of John’s third letter, attempted to do so and was openly rebuked by the apostle. Diotrephes’s account is a warning to anyone who desires to become the “church boss.”

    It may be a board member, a pastor, a teacher, a musician, a former officer or former pastor in a church. No matter who, the Diotrephes mentality has no place in the body. Only Christ is the Head. All the rest of us are in the class Jesus spoke of in Matthew 20: servants.

    You’re probably saying, “But there must be leadership to get the job done.” Yes, I agree. But it must be servant-hearted leadership among all. ~Chuck Swindoll

  42. says

    I have an additional comment if I may. I don’t wish to twist your context in your closure but I most certainly disagree with the partial portion of your sentence “Most pastors are wonderful servants of God….” No, some pastors are wonderful servants is most proper to say because they are not looking to Christ nor do they know the first thing about “servant-hearted” leadership and fail to authentically point their brothers and sisters to the very face of their dear Savior and Lord. We are now living in a time of a mere handful are actually Christ-centered and lead by example….That is very unfortunate and I do pray for pastors but I truly don’t know where they are???? I will continue to pray for pastors in America in my prayer time with Christ, for He alone is my Living Hope and Stead.

  43. Virginia Minetree says

    Thank you for moderating my last comment. My intention would never be to discourage his heart if he is right with the Lord Jesus. I believe you were proper in your moderation of my last comment. Lastly, I respect your moderation and God bless you.

  44. says

    I am deeply troubled at the response of not all, but too many in regard to their pastors and the church at large. You would think the church was a building or an organization. Ironically these attacks are really on ourselves and I do not believe these folks are even aware of it. We are the problem as we are the church. Our lack of spiritual formation to Christ is the cause of all the “leakage” in these posts. I have written extensively on this for nearly a decade(www.rewnovatorministries.org) and have been largely ignored which is fine because I know to attempt to help others know how to hear God and obey is clearly in His will.The agenda of the church MUST be to teach others to obey all of the commands of Christ through an intimate and constant relationship with our Trinitarian God. To live in His presence second by second. We live to ourselves with a consumer mentality and are never satisfied by a man or a woman in leadership because they are not what our soul desires or needs for LIFE. Hence we murmur and leak our discontent with mortal man. Surprised?

    • Virginia Minetree says

      Mr Akron, I couldn’t agree anymore concerning being troubled at the response of not all…..concerning your sharing in Christ Jesus. Our spiritual formation is secured by the cross not by us and the gates of hell shall NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE BODY OF CHRIST. He holds our hand, our hands are much too tiny to take hold. We are eternally secure in Christ Jesus only by His Grace and shed blood. Being carried by Jesus is the better road……. Blessings…….

        • Virginia Minetree says

          Mr Ackron, I will respond back to you tomorrow morning.. rather you mean Christ-likeness, Mr Ackron. I will most certainly reply tomorrow. Bless you. I think you know the answer to that……Mr. Ackron. ;.) However, I will be delighted to respond in the morning.

        • Virginia Minetree says

          Mr Ackron, since this is Mr Rainer’s blog, he may be better equipped to help you on your inquiry out of respect for Mr. Rainer’s blog. I would rather defer my response since I feel it is an inappropriate to ask me when you already know the answer. ;.) and this blog does not belong to me simply out of respect. ;.)

  45. Kay says

    My pastor is a wonderful, humble Christ exalting man. His love for the church is visible in everything he does, he is not perfect but he has a relationship with Christ that strengthens him in all his ways. This was not so in my local ( Baptist) church that I attended for half a century. The pastor there ( new) lied, slandered, plagiarized every sermon ( mostly stories and jokes not really biblical sermons) word for word and even used personal stories that belong to someone else. Once confronted (or exposed) he said he wasn’t paid enough to do his own sermons,he became angry because some opposed his lack of interest in study and laboring over the word. He called them names and slandered some and then he told them to get out of the church which they did after being told ” not to touch the Lord anointed”. It was horrible and broke hearts and faith within the local community and of course the church. It is very hard to believe any pastor once you have experienced such dishonesty and abusive behavior, but there are good faithful pastors who deserve honor.
    I believe my Bible, and wolves ( Matthew 7:15-20 ), imposters, deceivers, ( Mark 13: 5-6 . 2 Corinthians 13,14,15, Colossians 2 ) false teachers ( 2 Pete, Jeremiah 23:1-30 Ezekiel 34 ) hirelings (John 10 ) are going to come into the church as are men with the spirit of Diotrephes ( lll John) ,Balaam,’ Cain and Co’re ( Jude 1)
    We are all commanded to test, correct, and contend biblically with love. The Breans tested Paul and he commended them. Many congregations have been tore up by bad pastors and many faithful pastors have been hurt too. In my area it is very hard to find true gospel preaching and teaching. These are testing times, remember Jesus He is the true Shepherd.

  46. Guest says

    The most heartbreaking period of my life is when I read my whole Bible word for word and discovered how much I had been lied to in church.

    I also have a big problem with how many church leaders teach Pay in full and not Paid in full to enforce the Old Covenant tithe law. IF they do not understand the New Covenant is unconditional favor and love from God then they have no business being in the Pulpit.

    I grew up in a home where you had to prove you were worthy of love and approval so I don’t need to go to a church bldg. and put up with that mess as a grown person!

  47. Guest says

    The worst case of spiritual abuse is how most every church I have been a member of misused the Bible to collect their pay. Most of the time they pretend redeemed Gentiles are in the Old Covenant instead of the New Covenant.
    There is no excuse for preaching and misquoting Malachi 3:8-9 that God will curse the redeemed from the curse over money when he gave us Jesus to us free of charge. Romans 8:32 says God with the Son freely gives us all things! Galatians 3:13 says Jesus took all curses over us to the cross and he left it there so I have so much distrust on the majority of the church leaders who are trying to give it back and the robots who swallow it.

  48. Guest says

    The worst case of spiritual abuse is how most every church I have been a member of misused the Bible to collect their pay. Most of the time they pretend redeemed Gentiles are in the Old Covenant instead of the New Covenant.
    There is no excuse for preaching and misquoting Malachi 3:8-9 that God will curse the redeemed from the curse over money when he gave us Jesus free of charge. Romans 8:32 says God with the Son freely gives us all things! Galatians 3:13 says Jesus took all curses over us to the cross and he left it there so I have so much distrust on the majority of the church leaders who are trying to give the curse back and the robots who swallow it.

  49. says

    Many Pastors do not touch base with the realities of the world outside the church. They do not minister according to the needs of their immediate communities. They are indifferent to contemporary challenges facing their Christians and even the world outside the church which he is called to prepare the church to bring within the church. May be because most of them have only been trained in biblical theology and do not even know that almost every one, including those who do not know and accept Christ as lord and savior have some form of theology. Pastoral training must include other fields of study in helping adults learn as a compliment to their training. Else they will continue to see ministry from a shortsighted stand and the problem of lack of trust might only increase.

  50. Virginia Minetree says

    My comments are most certainly not to harm the body of Christ in any way or fashion. I am a part of the body of Christ just as you are. I may be a small toe or maybe a foot or broken foot? I may even be a knee that needs repair? However, I am greatly loved by God-Though,By and In Christ, just as you are greatly loved,so am I. I simply feel in my heart that shedding light on such matters of spiritual abuse is a relevant and necessary matter that should be addressed in the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. We are the body, the members. Perhaps, it may be more helpful and edifying if I were to encourage the body of Christ concerning what I have shared, prayerfully. Perhaps, I am incorrect in my statement (most)…..If so, I certainly do apologize as not to bring offense or division. That would not honor Christ, would it? I am not dishonoring Him because I love Him. I have personally experienced such matters of the faith. I matter to Christ just as much as you matter to Christ. All of His children are loved by Him! Thank God he went to the cross for us! He is good! So, we should properly love one another in Christ as to honor Him and give proper reverence to Him. I love the body of Christ just as much as you do. With a more positive posture in Christ, I would like to quote two passages of scriptures to perhaps encourage the body of Christ and pastors due to perhaps my lack of clarity or perhaps clearing up any misunderstandings? Often, we have a tendency to misunderstand one another….and simply fail to be patient and kind……and gracious to one another?

    Matthew 16:17-19 & Matthew 28:16-20

    Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    The Great Commission:

    Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Trackbacks

  1. […] Eleven Reasons Pastors Are Trusted Less Today - Thom Rainer shows 11 reasons why Pastors are trusted less today and held in lower esteem year after year. He says, “Sure, there are some bad and immoral pastors. But the vast majority of our pastors serve their congregations in a way that honors God and makes a difference in the community.” […]

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