Many of my articles come from the perspective of pastors. That will not change in the future. I am an advocate of pastors and I desire God’s best for them. I have no plans to change my advocacy role.
As a change of pace, however, I recently asked a few hundred laypersons to write down what they desired of a pastor. Their responses were open-ended, and there was no limitation on the number of items they could list. Though my approach was not scientific, these laypersons did represent over sixty churches.
Here are their top ten responses in order of frequency. Since many of them gave one or more sentences as a response, I can provide a representative comment by each of the responses.
The list of ten items is found here.
I’d love to hear if this resonates or if there are other thoughts.
I have heard about cliques in church, but never really thought they were that big a deal. I have never been shunned or sought after in such a way. Maybe they are a bigger deal than I gave much attention. Evidently someone thought they were a big deal and wanted to write about them. Enjoy.
As a former youth pastor, it pains me when I hear about young people who appeared so strong in faith as young people, yet when they venture off to college, move out of their homes, finish high school, or join the military, don’t participate in church life as they did earlier in life.
The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Jon Nielson a youth pastor in Wheaton, IL on what we can do to help keep our young people faithful to the Lord. Enjoy!
Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up
“What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.
The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?
I just saw a quote on Facebook today from a pastor friend of mine, Chris Hodges, as RT’d by my friend Layne Schranz, “If you don’t get better at what you do, you will criticize those who are.”
Socrates at his trial for heresy as found in Apology 38a said, “The unexamined life is not worth living as a human being.”
The first quote set me on a course to think about how humans work symbiotically either for growth and healing or desecration and decay. It is easy to be critical just for the sake of criticism. After all it is our right as Americans, I think some call it ‘free-speech.’ It is harder to be critical for the sake of wanting things to be better. Judgmentalism to damage another takes no character, honoring each other enough to look for ways to grow and improve takes wisdom and love.
As we go through life, are we cruising aimlessly or are we finding out our purpose and explioting it to the fullest? Are we looking at the ways we do things and asking if it is Father’s will or something for our own glory? Are we asking if what we are saying passes the “Who Cares Test?” Are we looking in God’s Word to see if we are continually working at conforming ourselves into the image of the Son? Are we honest and courageous enough to receive information, no matter how difficult it may be to hear, in order for us to grow?
Image from Slovenian beehive of two demons sharpening a woman's tongue.
On the MarbleRoll to the right there is a website called Koinoniablog.net . A while back I signed up to get a daily email from them with all sorts of fun stuff about the Bible. Well, every Monday they have a feature called “Monday with Mounce.” He is a Greek scholar who breaks down the New Testament in fun and inspiring ways. Today he broke from his tradition to address a critical issue- the issue of criticism and gossip. It was so impactful that I wanted to share it word for word with you all. The original post is found here.
I am so thankful to be a part of a church with doesn’t look for negative everywhere. That wants to grow and learn, be life-giving and powerful in the kingdom of God, that wants to be honoring and gracious. There is an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The kingdom corrollary is “Familiarity breeds honor.” I would much rather find the good in someone than focus on their faults! Let’s work hard to change the stereotype the world has of Christians! The devil has a hayday when Christians turn on eachother. He doesn’t really have to do any work, cuz Christians do the work for him.