Depending on which study you look at, anywhere between 7,000-10,000 churches close each year in America. There are, of course, a variety of reasons why, but leadership has to be at the top of the list. Many pastors just don’t have the skills or desire to learn what it takes to lead a church in an ever-changing culture.
In many cases these pastors have made a good living doing what they’ve always done, so they’ve had very little incentive to change. In my experience a lot of them are doing much better financially than even pastors of growing churches.
The situation only becomes worse when the only accountability they have is to the church they serve. So, as long as they have good relationships with their congregation, they’ll always have a job.
These pastors look successful, but I’m afraid they’re setting their church up for failure.
From what I’ve studied and witnessed, the pastors usually fall into one of these five categories.
- The Seeker
The seeker is always looking for a pat on the back. They love to be recognized and praised. Often they are great at pastoral care because it gives them the approval they are seeking.
- The Lazy
There’s absolutely no excuse for being a lazy pastor. I hate that I even have to write about this, but the truth is they do exist. When there’s low accountability, some pastors will become lazy.
- The Avoider
This one I can much more relate with. Having hard conversations and making difficult decisions isn’t fun, so some pastors will avoid it all together. If you choose to be this pastor, you’re no longer leading.
- The Ignorant
Something we say in the south when we insult someone is “bless their heart.” For example, that pastor doesn’t know what they’re doing, bless their heart. Some just don’t have the basic skills it takes to lead a church.
- The Burned
Some pastors have tried their best to lead, and yet they’ve been worn down in the process. You go through enough of this, and it’s not uncommon to just give up. The path of least resistance may not be what’s best for the church, but at least you’ll keep your job.
There has to be something bigger that drives us, otherwise these numbers are just going to get worse and worse.
We can’t be content with where we are in the present when the future of the American church is at stake.
What are you doing to set your church up for success in the future? Share your thoughts below and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.