Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pastors, Pastors, Pastors

Some recent events have come to my attention. As a seminary student we look forward to our assignment in continuing service to God for God. Lately I have notice the number of churches that are in the process of looking for a pastor for their church. Statistics show that the average tenure for a Southern Baptist Pastor is 27 months. That seems outrageous to me. How can churches survive? How can a Pastor expect to be able to serve God knowing how little time he has? How can a Pastor’s family survive with such change and lost of their church family? How can a church congregation move from "welcome" to "please leave" in such a short time?

In 1 Peter we learn the great responsibility that is placed on the shoulders of the Pastor.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)

A Pastor is called by God to serve God. It is for this reason that so many seem to be rejected by the very flock they are entrusted to care for. Though it may not be popular it is required to preach of the cross, the blood of Christ and dare I say it, SIN. Yet the Bible clearly tells us of the gifts we have been given.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Eph 4:11 (NLT)

Please see my posting of Sheep without a Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 (NLT)

I am ashamed to admit it but I have seen Pastors belittled, discouraged by and beaten up more by their own congregation than from Satan’s own demons. Make no mistake I am guilty in allowing this to happen within my own church as anyone else.

Again statistics show that half of all seminary students drop out before graduating. Half of those who do graduate and enter the ministry leave it within their first two years. That leaves only 25% of those who enter seminary continue in their service for God. The parable of the farmer scattering seed in Matthew 13:1-8 comes to mind.

It is a small group that continues to bare the burden that enters the ministry. It is a hard life. One filled with longsuffering, disappointment, hardship, poverty, and relentless service for others.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17 (NLT)


Anonymous said...

You spoke of the average tenure of pastors. The figure you quoted is actually greater than the last one I had heard... eighteen months. Perhaps that's an encouraging sign that God's people are beginning to listen Him more about the treatment of God's man.

The stunning thing about the statistic, which we perhaps don't consider at first, is that it includes the long-tenured pastors like W.A. Criswell, Jerry Vines, Johnny Hunt and others. That means that many of the pastors don't even stay a year in one church. That saddens my heart even more than the statistic itself does.

God bless you, Duke, as you continue to seek Him and His will for your life. I'll see you Monday night!

Dr. D Jones

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting statistic! So what are you planning on doing about it???!!!!

D. C. McKay Jr. said...

Dear Anonymous:

Great question. If you’re waiting for someone else to clean up the mess then you are not alone. Many church members these days just sit there in the pews of churches around the nation with their arms folded as if saying OK, entertain me. The same is said for those who just stood there watching Jesus die on the cross. Which are you? One who is content with just sitting on the sidelines or are you ready to step up and be counted? Since your comment is anonymous we all know where you stand.

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