Thursday, April 08, 2010

Challenges to ministries and to pastors families

From H.B. London of Focus on the Family fame :

A couple weeks ago, in the March 5, 2010, issue of The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, I asked for a reader response on two questions. We received several hundred very interesting replies. I asked one of our staff members, Dale Wolyniak, to put into capsule form the essence of those responses. Here is what we found:
Question 1: What do you feel is the greatest challenge to your ministry?
  • It was evident that apathy within congregations was a primary concern. This was also reported as a lack of commitment and help in ministry, a certain lukewarmness — which may stem from being too busy with wrong priorities — plus, distractions in our congregants' homes.
  • Some pastors noted that church was seen as an event, rather than a place of being the Body. This was reflected with a view of the church being more of a club, with a consumer approach to 'serve me.'
  • A high percentage of comments indicate that the church has lost its sense of urgency to spread the gospel because of being more concerned with tradition, programs and activities rather than personal evangelism and discipleship.
  • Another indicator was the cultural tolerance for sinful practices. And, within the church, a lack of discipline to live up to biblical values. This fusion of postmodern values and a liberal approach to life can leave the church without a prophetic voice.
  • Question 2: What one thing presents the greatest challenge or threat to you and your family or marriage?
  • Respondents spoke most frequently about the need for balancing time and resources of ministry with that of the pastor's marriage and family. A few phrases that frequently occurred were "emotional exhaustion," "energy depletion" and "excessive activities" that seemed to plague the ministers' lives.
  • One comment was that there was a "rising tide" of evil in the world that is seen in the public schools, TV, movies and the Internet. In speaking of the cultural influence on our children, one pastor commented that we need to "keep a Christ-centered focus in our homes, despite the tsunami of temptations around us."
  • A challenge that creates high stress is the unfair expectations of church members toward their pastor and his or her family. A major concern was that a pastor's spouse and children needed to be given adequate time and attention in spite of busy ministry lives.

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