Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pastors - These are Tough Times to Lead a Church

(Found this old card while looking for other things.)

When I was younger a pastor told me that the church was one of the most difficult organizations to lead, because it's an all-volunteer army. The people are not getting paid. A pastor can't say, "You need to do this because we're paying you to do this!" (If you're paying people to do things and you have to say this, you have problems.)

Francis Chan, in his Letter to the Church, said that pastors in America today face an exceptionally difficult time to lead a church. As if leading the church wasn't tough already. And, he wrote before the pandemic happened!

Chan writes:

"For those who are not in church leadership, be mindful that this is a very difficult time to lead. I have been in leadership positions for over thirty years. There has never been a time like this. 
Social media gives everyone a voice, so everyone chooses to raise theirs. 
Voices are plentiful; followers are not. 
Strong opinions are applauded; humility is not. 
I am not saying that changes do not need to be made among leaders; I am simply calling for grace. Imagine how difficult it would be to coach a team where each player refuses to follow because he or she has a better plan than the coach. 
Welcome to the American Church in the twenty-first century." (p. 25)

Add to this the Entertainment and Happiness factor, and the problems increase.

Then, add kids sports leagues on Sunday mornings...

...  sprinkle in some Consumer Culture...

... some Show Business... (See Neil Postman's brilliant work...)

...toss in some microaggressions...

...and the need to be coddled...

...add a decreasing neural capacity to focus...

...addiction to cell phones (See my worship song "Lay Your Cell Phones Down and Worship Him")...  (See Moby's video here...)

... the need to be "liked" (See the work of many here, including Jean Twenge)...

...and many overworked people needed to keep the Consumer Machine operating...

...and, oh yes, the pandemic...

These are tough times to lead anything.

My ideas on how to combat all of this,  without resorting to an extreme Benedict Option (which makes more sense every day), is Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Pastors and Christian leaders, let us stay attached to the anchor of our souls, to the foundation of our faith, to knowing Christ, and making Him known. For our souls have been forged in fire for such a time as this.