WILL THE CHURCH SURVIVE THE CHURCH?
Christianity Today posted a blog piece about pastoral burnout. Some people have been sounding the alarm but it seems the “church” is not listening. Here is the link to the article: Epidemic: Another Pastor Burned Out and Quit Last Sunday
Much of the problem has to do with churches. I know pastors are not perfect. Some are poorly trained and some are not really called. Many pastors are idealists and think that the church is made up of good people doing good things and are shocked when they discover that the opposite is true. But the overwhelming problem has to do with the state of the church. I think the situation is dire. Few “churches” are really churches. They are societies. The members have common “religious” interests and think they “hire” pastors to meet their needs. And when the Pastor burns out or they get tired of his level of service, they kick him to the side and find a new victim.
Pastors have to take some responsibility for the state of the church because they did not preach the full counsel of God. Pastors are often reluctant to preach the hard texts and the hard sermons that bring correction. I guess many, and I have been there, are concerned about how they will feed their families when they get “fired” for speaking the truth. But, the reality is, many will find themselves in that place regardless. The cruelty is that churches don’t care about the lives of their pastors, particularly when they “fire” them. Churches do not think they have any responsibility for the physical and spiritual welfare of their pastor or his family.
How many church members have brought anyone to Christ? How many deacons, especially since evangelism is one of the described functions of deacons? All Christians are evangelists and all are called to model the Christian life before the watching world. Church members have a lot of work to do (which has nothing to do with VBS, teaching Sunday School and other such things) and most do nothing but complain.
But the problem will soon be solved. God brings his judgment and many “churches” will simply cease to exist. The deaths of churches are inevitable unless Christians do the hard thing and repent, change, commit to what the Bible calls us to do, and then humbly carry out what God commands. I doubt it will happen. Some members are unregenerate. Some members are just lazy. And some members are in rebellion to God and are far “wiser” than God himself. The odds are against most churches making the necessary changes that will allow the Holy Spirit to move and work among them.
You may think I’m wrong but I’m not. We have a crisis and most church members have their heads in the sand. They are a sad, secular, ungodly lot. We stand in the same place as Israel did when we read Isaiah in Isaiah 1:1-20. The judgments of the prophets judge us and if God judged ancient Israel, does anyone really think today’s church will escape? Our fate will be the same if we do not change.