This Guy is Angry at Pastors

American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names remain on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn’t the remotest connection with what the church’s pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.

A few of us are angry about it. We are angry because we have been deserted…. It is bitterly disappointing to enter a room full of people whom you have every reason to expect share the quest and commitments of pastoral work and find within ten minutes that they most definitely do not. They talk of images and statistics. They drop names. They discuss influence and status. Matters of God and the soul and Scripture are not grist for their mills.

The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper’s concerns–how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.

Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast-food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists.

The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.

From the introduction of “Working the Angles” written by Eugene Peterson.

44 thoughts on “This Guy is Angry at Pastors”

  1. Somewhere in here someone said:<>What can we do? Get on our knees.<>Fair enough. Then, when you’re done, get up off your knees and <>do<> something.

  2. <>we are more concerned with correcting those who are already saved than we are with reaching those are lost.<>How do you know they are all saved ? They could have sat there for thirty years, thinking all they had to do was say a little prayer, and go about their lives like nothing happened. There are more that ACT religious than ARE truly saved. <>WE feel it is much wiser to stoop to the level of the ignorance that exists in the church rather than try to build a bridge with the truth seeking members of the modern church.<>oh yeah ?<>S keep on getting mad at churches and pastors when you should be getting mad at yourself for not stepping up.<>Uh, that doesn’t quite make sense.

  3. 1stly – On the issues of pastors I totally agree that the position needs to be taken seriously, and there needs to be some real heart to heart soul searching for those in the position of how they handle their job. In the end they will answer to God.2ndly – I do find it interesting that we all have no issue with accepting eternal life when we accept salvation – however this whole issue of “sin” and righteousness is always an issue for people. Yes – Rom 3:23 says we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. We can agree they we “sinned” and need a Savior. By accepting Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice the “sin” issue was resolved. No one can be perfect alone, however being complete in Christ is the work of the cross. So by not accepting His righteousness your basically denying the entirety of what Christ did on the cross.My food for thought – your semantics.

  4. Mike, Yes it seems like people are getting a bit snarky. But realize this… wounded people wound people. Whenever a discussion about the church and pastoral leadership is in the offing we will have bitterness that springs from an infected wound. The question is what to do about that. Do we expect that individual to keep their bitterness to themselves? DO we expect them to cover up? OR do we engage them with love, patience and grace realizing that if we could see where the bitterness comes from and why it is there we would understand and empathize. I agree that offering grace is easier when the wound is more visible. But we love not only in our convienence but in sacrifice out of our abundance.

  5. The question is, what is a Pastor responsible to do? You asked if it is his responsibility to keep the flock attentive. The answer is who am I to guess.What does the bible say? I would encourage everyone to look in their bible and see what it says a pastor is suppose to do. I think it would shock most people how little it says in regards to the issue.Shelly, Shelly, Shelly, c’mon Romans 3:23. That is talking about man’s inherent sin. This passage only strengthens my point. You see, we can all sin in the sense of an act that we perform, but since we are now inherently righteous we can’t by definition call ourselves sinner’s. To sin is seperation from God and God said we can no longer be seperated from Him. Therefore, we can no longer sin.I am sure you will disagree, but that’s kinda why I brought it up.

  6. Are you kidding me????? No personal attacks – lets go back to the podcast – “Heal Me Elmo”Steve and Josh basically make assumptions, personal attacks and outright rudeness directed at Davidsoftulsa because they don’t agree with him.Is that style of communication “healthy”? You seem nothing more than a follower. You forget how they attacked him personally, his ministry, and his beliefs. I heard you on there too ninjanun – whit comes through the typed word for you huh – not so easy in real conversation. How’s that for a personal attack. How…..tthhh…th…that…fo..forr..a per…Personal …at…att…Attack.What ever happened to Josh’s little “challenge”? Interesting how he says come here and heal me and never comes back in the arena to back it up. As I recall davidsoftulsa accepted the challenge and Josh then disappeared into a comic strip and a ringtone. Maybe jughead can heal his crooked back????? Just an Idea.You all seem to like followers only – disagree with one issue and the whole pack of rabid dogs jump to defend their leaders…Nice how you like to throw out the big words to make your nonsence points!! Good for you!!Hope this form of communication Blesses you whence you come in and go out, in the abundance of His love and grace and the bounty of the Love of God!!!

  7. Marc said: <><>S keep on getting mad at churches and pastors when you should be getting mad at yourself for not stepping up.<><>This is interesting. If you don’t mind Marc, could you please explain to me the specific ways in which I am not “stepping up”?Thanks.

  8. <>Lokk at my first post, all I said was I disagreed with the premiss of some of his arguments. Then everyone gets all offended.<><>You all seem to like followers only – disagree with one issue and the whole pack of rabid dogs jump to defend their leaders…<>Hmmmm…. the only respondants I’d call rabid are marc and shefrog. Everyone else seems to be discussing the article Steve posted. Marc & Frog seem to be discussing the people discussing the article Steve posted.

  9. thedavidsoftulsa,I’m a little confused as to what you’re getting at.Are you saying Steve should shut up about what is wrong with the church and go witness to some “lost” people?

  10. Peterson said:<><>The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. <><>Then Marc David said:<><>The biblical fact? Does he give a reference later on in the book? <><>Then Marc David accused everyone of taking scriptures out-of-context, as they attempted to answer him from the bible.The fact is, Marc’s question is out of context.Based on what Eugene Peterson said in the earlier paragraphs, concerning the consumer mentality prevalent in churches; if you consider what America has done to the church “successful”, then you’re obviously not looking at the ‘Church’ Jesus spoke of. Since, it is apparent that the gates of hell have already prevailed against ‘church Inc.’Surprise. Surprise. The spiritual masturbation that occurs in many pulpits, board meetings and worship services has little or nothing to do with what Christ died for.In other words, Peterson is right!

  11. I get the point. I just think his point is irrelevant. Do you remember Samuel L. Jackson’s monologue in Boys n the Hood where he explains how White people are killing blacks by giving them drugs and putting gun stores and liquor stores on the corners in black neighborhoods. Mr. Peterson is popping off the same pointless rhetoric. Pastors are bad and they have deserted me, boo hoo. What does that have to do with your vision. What you do is not contingent on whether or not pastors are sincere. Let them be pharisees, IT DOESN”T CHANGE A THING. Is this book teaching us something or is it just letting us know that he is mad at the church and we should be too? He has no right to tell pastors that they are doing it wrong. Who or what is the standard for right? We have already established that the bible does not tell us. Maybe Steve knows. Hey Steve, you’ve called for pastors to resign, maybe you can tell us how you know they were not working within their job perameters. I haven’t missed the point. I am just tired of these holier than thou, let me tell you the right wayt to do it people. The last thing we need in the Church is another mouth piece, we need doers. What he is saying does not seem positive or productive in any way. It just seems accusitory.

  12. thedavidoftulsa: <>The biblical fact? Does he give a reference later on in the book?<> I think you have to read this in context. He says in the previous paragraph that pastors sometimes dream of success that will gain them attention. I know that was true of myself when I was trapped in the “church-growth” mentality of bigger is better. I don’t think one can prove biblically and support the notion that pastors are supposed to “grow” churches numerically to boost their own reputations and support their own egos.<>How can we be christians and sinners?<>I know I am both… but then I believe you are attempting to play a game of semantics here. There is plenty of Scripture to point to and illustrate that while we are believers on the one hand, we are still capable of sin on the other. We may be righteous (or set right in God’s eyes) but we are not perfect… yet.<>but as far as the issue of structure that he brings up, I think he has taken a great leap.<> And what leap has he taken? Is it not the pastor’s responsibility to keep the community attentive to God. He later speaks of the three acts that pastors are to devote their time and energy to accomplish this responsibility….1) Praying 2) reading Scripture 3) giving Spiritual Direction.But in the American Evangelical church mindset we pay pastors to be our CEO’s, watch the bottom line, build us buildings, keep us busy with activities, and perform great weekly meetings that make us feel better about ourselves and prop us up to face another week.

  13. He said there are no successcful churches (plural). This has no bearing on the Church. Peterson is right in respect to what he ahs seen and experienced. Where he steps into error is where he starts grouping all churches and church people into one big mass of hypocrites.America hasn’t done anything to the Church. The Church allows what it wants to. True there are many pastors out htere who have wrong hearts, but who is moore to blame, them or the Church. The responsibility of God’s people falls on God’s people. We have talked round about how leadership in the Church is whoring themselves, But didn’t jesus make us all leaders. We have been called priests and priestesess. That part in Ephesians that talks about the ministry gifts, Paul says there that we all have a part of these gifts. So are we then not the ones accountable?Everyone keeps saying, What do we do about it? The answer is fulfill God’s commission on your life and quit worrying about the pharisees. You don’t see Jesus mounting revolts against the church in the bible do you? No, to make an impact he simply did what he was suppose to do.If the office of a pastor isn’t even in the bible why are you worried about them? Why don’t rise up against fireman foe not properly standing in the office of fireman. The whole thing seems crazy just do what you are suppose to do. Eph. 4:12

  14. What does “lost” people mean. You put it quotes as if to say i’m using some word out of context. The answer is what does the Bible say we outta do. How can you be confused at what I am getting at? Am I being vague? I am saying, let start defining our role as christians and stop defining other people’s roles for them.I am not telling Steve to shut up, I am glad he has the guts to speak his convictions. I am not telling him to go witness(for all practical purposes I was not telling him anything I was talking to Jeff). Am i telling him to reach the lost?…You better believe it. Eph 4:12, c’mon. Build up the saints so they can do the work of the ministry. What do you think the Bible is getting at here? Build people up to be a praise and worship leader?I guess this is the part where you break out your amazing wit and tell me witnessing is just “spiritual mastrabation”. Kudos to you Oh proveyor of truth and wisdom.I just don’t understand if someone has the smallest disagreement with anything posted on this site everyone goes on the attack. Lokk at my first post, all I said was I disagreed with the premiss of some of his arguments. Then everyone gets all offended. Reminds me of church. I surprised you guys had a hard time fitting in. Being open minded is more that being the outsider, it giving every point of veiw a chance. I subscribe to this site because I enjoy differing opinions, I don’t comment on everything I disagree with.This is my last comment on this post so feel free to respond however without retaliation.

  15. And as to how we fix things Dufflehead…. I have no clue. I offer no solutions at this point. I have ventured into that arena before, and currently my solution has been to step away from the church to gain perspective for the time being. I agree with nugget (did I just say that) when he said(or at least I think he said) it’s hard to sit and listen in church when you have lost respect for the entire thing (the church, the pastors, the style and current structures that abound)…that may be the answer for me and others currently, but I am not sure it is the right one. I just know it’s right for me at this moment.

  16. I wonder if pastors become shopkeepers because members, who profit writing books about them, cause them due to the hardness of “their” hearts to look to the shop because of the damage they have done…hummmmm

  17. <>Try some different translations and read vs 7. If we walk in the Light we are cleansed from all sin and guilt.He is speaking in reference to someone who would not accept the fact that they are sinners (old nature) saved by grace (new nature).<>Can you explain the context of verses 9 and 10? <>If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us of all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.<>Then move on to Chapter 2:<>My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.<>And explain why Paul said that he does what he does not want to do, and does not do what he knows he should do.Grace covers sin, but that’s not the same as saying those covered by grace don’t sin. You didn’t say that per se, but I’m not sure what else you might have meant.I’m not sure what <>the<> answer is around sin and the believer, and I’m not sure you do either, but it’s not like I’m a stranger to the Scriptures. So this comment–<>“You should really do some research before you insert comments like that, it makes you look silly”<>–isn’t very useful.

  18. forgive me for being a broken record but, i agree with the guy. but we could go on agreeing and disagreeing until we’re out of oxygen.so what do we do/how do we fix it/can we fix it?

  19. <><>I haven’t missed the point. I am just tired of these holier than thou, let me tell you the right wayt to do it people.<><>Sure you have. The only person here trying to “tell” anyone the right way to do it is you. (“Hello pot. I’m kettle. You’re black!!!”)Peterson raises the question. Steve raises the question. You’re the one answering all the questions, “telling” everyone how wrong they are.If pastors are only mentioned once in the bible, why are they the centerpiece of modern-day christianity?You see his comments as an attack on all pastors. When, in fact, he is simply bringing to light the concept of consumer-based-religion. And since the pastor is the “leader” of the local church, Peterson starts there.I haven’t read this book. And neither have you, from what I can gather. Yet you seem to know what its all about.Marc, think about these statements:<>I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. <>Stupid Pharisee!<> <>(did Jesus just say, “Stupid Church People”?)<> Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.”<>These are just a few. Go back and read all of Matthew 23. According to your rhetoric, Jesus wasn’t being “positive or productive in any way”. I’m sure it will just seem “accusatory”.Yet Jesus is addressing the exact same behavior in the pharisees as Peterson is addressing in pastors. The point that you don’t get, is that there ARE a LOT of pastors with the same mentality as these pharisees. No, you want to get everyone hung up on the phrase “no successful churches” or change this into an argument about confessing righteousness over sin. You’re dancing around the point you’re missing.The point that you don’t get, is that the church HAS been influenced by the american culture. You can play semantical games all you want (ie- “the church allows what it wants to”), but the fact remains (and christian television backs this up) that american-corporate-church is all about image, profits and size.Sure, there’s someone out there doing church right. And it’s the person Peterson describes in this introduction… it’s in community (see the book of Acts for your biblical reference…). We don’t see the ones doing it right, because we’re not supposed to see them. They’re not the ones carrying television cameras with them as they do God’s work (ahem). They’re the ones doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God, not needing the recognition of men.THAT’s the point. And if you think it’s “irrelevant”, it’s because you’re so firmly entrenched in the forest, that you cannot see the trees.(And I only say that, because I can identify with what you’re saying. I’ve been a part of the same religion-machine for years. This time last year, I would have agreed with you…)IMHO- You’re confusing “identifying the problem” with “being accusatory”. Is an accusation a bad thing? It the church above change? Isn’t the purpose of a book “introduction” to whet the appetite for the subjects are are going to be addressed? Could it be that you have no right to “accuse” Peterson of anything until you’ve actually read his entire book?I’m picking up a copy today…

  20. “The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world.”The biblical fact? Does he give a reference later on in the book? That whole last paragraph completely lost me. How can we be christians and sinners? Sounds to me like this guy could use a little research on righteousness. He has a good point that about the pastors, but as far as the issue of structure that he brings up, I think he has taken a great leap.

  21. Hey Newman….Eugene Peterson is a pastor… not just a member. Read one of his books and you might discover some interesting things about what pastors should be doing.

  22. <>The biblical fact? Does he give a reference later on in the book?That whole last paragraph completely lost me. How can we be christians and sinners?<>Read Romans 3:23 lately? 😉

  23. That’s a really interesting anaology. I guess the only thing I’d question is his judgement on the ‘shopkeepers’ motivation. His judgement is that it’s all selfish & egotistical. Is it not possible for a ‘shopkeeper’ to want to run a real succesful store to benefit his community and to please the ‘Chief Executive’ (if you follow the anaolgy!)?Paul compared the church to an army, a family, a biological entity. Do you not think he might have used a corporate analogy if he were arounnd today?

  24. Thanks for defending everyone, Steve. I’m sure they could not respond on their own. It’s a good thing you are there.Why don’t you respond to your thoughts on the pastor’s “responsibility”. You kinda threw that out there like we were supposed to just assume you were correct about what a pastor’s role is. Where did you get that? Or did you just pull it out of the air. You have a tendencyy to make foundationless assumptions and pass them off as fact. Does this come as a result of being a pastor for so many years? Anyway good talking to you again buddy.Oh yeah, what is that crap about the three things pastor’s are suppose to devote their time to. I would love to know where he got that from. Maybe you guys go to the same church or something.

  25. <>I guess this is the part where you break out your amazing wit and tell me witnessing is just “spiritual mastrabation”. Kudos to you Oh proveyor of truth and wisdom.I just don’t understand if someone has the smallest disagreement with anything posted on this site everyone goes on the attack. Lokk at my first post, all I said was I disagreed with the premiss of some of his argument<>You seem to be the only one attacking around here. It’s called <>ad hominem<> attacks (attacking the person, instead of the argument, and you do it in the paragraph above, btw). It seems you don’t know the difference between disagreeing with someone’s position and making personal attacks on their character. No one has attacked your character or made sarcastic remarks aimed at you, yet you do this to others. You also make assumptions about what I “meant” when I was asking a simple question. I put quotes around “lost” because that word is ambiguous and we probably mean different things by it. For instance, I would conjecture that you mean people who “haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior”, whereas I think it’s possible that many of the people (such as some of these pastors even) that ascribe to this creed are just as “lost” in their religion. But that’s an argument for a different time.I think the reason you feel attacked is that people find your style of “discourse” off-putting: your dripping sarcasm, <>ad hominem<> attacks, assumptions about what others mean, and general defensiveness make it difficult to have a civilized discussion with you. If you want to discuss the issues, let’s discuss the issues, and leave the immature and unfruitful argumentative techniques out of it. Your style of debate is not healthy.

  26. Nice try Zeke, read the whole passage next time. Of course, we were born into sin. Try some different translations and read vs 7. If we walk in the Light we are cleansed from all sin and guilt. He is speaking in reference to someone who would not accept the fact that they are sinners (old nature) saved by grace (new nature).You should really do some research before you insert comments like that, it makes you look silly.

  27. Marc, you wrote… <>You see, we can all sin in the sense of an act that we perform, but since we are now inherently righteous we can’t by definition call ourselves sinner’s.<>And then you wrote… <>To sin is seperation from God and God said we can no longer be seperated from Him. Therefore, we can no longer sin.<>Uhhhhh so let me get this straight – according to what you just wrote… We can all sin… but we can’t call ourselves sinners. We can sin… sin is separation from God…God said we can no longer be separated from Him… Therefore we can no longer sin…..Uhhhhh….You go from “we can all sin”… to “we can no longer sin”.So according to you, we can all “sin” in one sense of the word (an act we perform) but we can’t “sin” in another sense of the word (separation from God)….is that what you are getting at? So, isn’t it true then that believers could be called “sinners” (by the acts performed) in one sense of the word? I think that’s what Eugene Peterson means when he says that churches consist of a community of “sinners”. Churches also have people in them that aren’t believers so they would be “sinners” in the broader sense of the word that you refer to (that of being separated from God).In Romans 7, Paul does seem to make it clear that even as believers their is a continued struggle between our sin nature and our new spiritual nature as believers. Ultimately, Paul explains, that thanks to Christ one is rescued from this struggle but in the meantime one constantly struggles with sin.And so back to the original point of this post… churches are full of people that struggle with sin (even if they are believers) and the pastor (who also struggles with sin) is the one appointed with certain responsibilities within the community.

  28. After reading this post, I must tell a different side of the story. It is an alarming trend amongst some pastors I know. It’s frightening yet we, church members are also to blame. We are all to blame and shouldn’t be pointing fingers at one another. In some of the churches, including the one that I am going to, a very small number of influential church members use many manipulative manoeuvres to take control and get what they want in church. I must say that most of them if not all are shallow and worldly Christians who lack understanding for the word of God, have poor relationship with God and are incapable with no mission or vision to expand the kingdom of God. They just want power. Pastors are pressured by these power people at church who are disconnected from God. At the moment, we are thinking of hiring a new pastor. I was eating a meal with my fellow brother and sister and we ha a discussion. I was shocked when one said, we need to find a pastor who is compatible to the people. One thought came to my mind, should Jesus be compatible to the Pharisees? Should Paul be compatible to the Corinthians? Were Christ and Paul compatible to the cultures and thinking of the Pharisees and the Greco-Roman Jews at the time? Or the Greeks? No.And think about how many Christians think that way, and the same lot becomes pastors. The core problem is the quality of Christians. Sheep quality. Many churches are struggling with quality. The thing is, this is not just a problem about the pastors. This is a problem that involves us all. We are the freaking problem. People don’t listen to pastors nowadays, well, unless the pastors make us feel great. Put pastors have roles, they need to exhort, teach, preach, say things we don’t like, they need to lead and tell us what we need to hear even if we don’t want to hear them. In this post-modern world where it encourages that everybody is right. Church people are also responsible for pastors’ behaviour. I can give an example: A young idealistic and optimistic pastor was hire and went into a church. He gave inspirational sermons, hosted workshop but then some powerful people who wanted the status quo asked him to stop asking so much from the church people, we don’t need to start new ministries, just go and pay visit to church members and keep everybody happy. Under great pressure, the young pastor, who was supporting his family with 3 kids, went along. He crafted his sermon so that it can be self-interpreted. The motivated people will hear the message while the lazy church goers can find their own meanings. He compromised. Titled his workshops with marketable title of something like: 20 ways to feel better, memorize John in 30 days etc. In many contemporary churches, pastors basically are unable to do what they are called to do. People don’t listen. People don’t want to be salt and light, they want a social club and be in charge. They don’t want to be led, they want to lead. Here are some clippings and statistics from reports: Several years ago, consultants Alan and Cheryl Klaas were hired by the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) to investigate this issue. They were tasked to find the root causes of the clergy shortage that many denominations are facing. The problem they uncovered was unexpected (to them) and troubling. The reason for the drop-off of new ministry recruits matched the reason for an increase in people leaving ministry: the conflict, criticism, and ill-treatment that has become an all-too-common aspect of ministry life. What follows is an excerpt of an article in the Baptist standard:“[This research study] was intended to be a traditional recruitment and retention study,” Klaas said. For example, he thought he’d be recommending changes on issues like seminary communication with potential students.“We wondered if students got good services, if seminaries were recruiting the right people,” he explained. But in the end, the Klaases concluded the problems are 20 percent institutional and 80 percent behavioral.“The fundamental finding is that people beating on each other is the main issue,” Klaas said.http://www.baptiststandard.com/2001/4_23/pages/burnout.html“Klaas estimates that pastors’ children made up about 40 percent of seminarians in the 1950s and ’60s. It’s a much different picture now at the two seminaries in the denomination Klaas was working with. Last year, pastors’ children made up only 5 percent of seminarians at one and 17 percent at the other.”Pastors:· Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.· Four thousand new churches begin each year, but over seven thousand churches close.· Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.· Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.· Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.· Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. Ninety percent of pastors said their seminary or Bible school training did only a fair to poor job preparing them for ministry.· Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.· Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.· Ninety percent said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be before they entered the ministry.· Seventy percent felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called.· Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.· Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.Pastors’ Wives:· Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.· Eighty percent of pastor’ wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.· Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.· Eighty percent of pastors’ wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not.· The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.Reality is, the world we live in is becoming an ever-hostile environment for godly people and for pastor to operate as called by God.There is a bad and very unhealthy cycle here as we have unhealthy Christians who will then be…worldly pastors. I think this is a worldwide trend as churches are struggling not only with shortage of quality pastors but also leaders and mature Christians. The world is swallowing us up. Pastors are often pressured to give in to the crowd, the market or leave with the heart broken.

  29. Well, I agree with the guy too. And, in my walk this week, I have had some things shared with me.I have been on a “kick” here of late to rectify my lost relationship with God, and justify it by blaming the Church, or more specifically, the pastor of the church I sit in. I have been focusing on being the next Savior of the Church by trying to put this pastor and company “in their places”.A dangerous place to go, fer sure. I think I will do better just trying to share my relationship with my fellow Beings, and just forget about “getting even”. This is what Christ wanted. For us to die, and rise again, and share all that.It sounds simple, is kinda complicated, but never impossible.Read this….http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/003/26.42.html

  30. Simply watch how pastors act when there is a problem. Having worked as a youth pastor for over a decade now, I have yet to see a senior pastor with a spine strong enough to stand for what is right. They give in way too easily for the name of “forgiveness,” but all too often in disguise of “shopkeeping.”

  31. Wow. He is echoing a sentiment in the Hirsch and Frost book “The Shaping of Things to Come” (one of my all-time favorite books on the subject) that Pastor-Teachers have hijacked the Western Church and we have neglected the other gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16).The CEO/Board of Directors church government or, worse, the “let’s have the congregation vote on everything” forms of church government are so far fromt he Biblical prescription for the gathering together of believers that it makes my head explode to think about it too much.I wish more churches would flatten their leadership structure, include the pastor and the teacher as vital members of a team of various giftings, and let them as a team equip the Church to go do the work of the ministry in their workplaces, homes, neighborhoods, etc.If I hear another seeker-driven church-goer tell me they invited their non-believing friend to church to get saved I’m going to go postal. Why don’t these people offer to read with their neighbors? Why don’t THEY share with their neighbors? Why do we abdicate our resonsiblity to pastors pretending to be evangelists (or vice versa)?Anyway. Thanks for the post. I’m off my soapbox and I hope after I hit “Login & Publish” I don’t regret this knee-jerk response……church people…can’t live with ’em…pass the beer nuts…

  32. <><>The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper’s concerns–how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.<><>Shopkeeping! That’s what this article is all about. You guys can get caught up on your righteousness confessions all you want. But in reality, no matter how you refer to yourself, we’re all in this mess. Our churches are corporate entities that have little or no relevance in peoples lives.We’re not concerned with directing people toward Christ or even meeting people’s needs. We’re concerned with growth.Steve and Josh said this last year when they started all of this. The problem is the pastoral ego. The penchant to take responsibility (and credit) for everything. Humble pastors are humble because their congregation is small. Powerful pastors are powerful because their congregation is big.I recently heard a pastor described as “one of the most influential pastors in America”. Why is he so influential? Because he has one of the largest churches. That means his church is filled with the largest number of taxpayers, voters and constituents. And because he, as pastor, holds such influence over so many, he’s considered powerful (even if he’s an idiot!).And THAT’s the reason there are “biblically” no successful churches. Because our measuring stick for success has nothing to do with success, as defined by the kingdom of God.In the kingdom, if you want to be great, you serve. You don’t put a food court onto your church. If your want to be great, you become least, not biggest.But, because many who have responded here are so entrenched in this Americanized church-culture, we cannot even see the fact that the religious system in which we live is the very thing Jesus denounced, when here on earth.

  33. Peterson’s four-pack of books on pastoral work are some of my favorites. This quote is one of the best from “Working the Angles”.Thanks for bringing it back up after so many years in the covers!

  34. I wasn’t defending anyone Marc. I was simply pointing out how you appeared to contradict yourself in your statements regarding “sin” . In the course of doing that I was trying to have a conversation about the valid points you raised. And I wrote nothing about the pastor’s role or responsibility in this post. I just posted what Peterson says for the purpose of discussion. I did ask, “Is it not the pastor’s responsibility to keep the flock attentive to God” again to restate Peterson’s statement and invite your (or others) feedback.You wrote: <>The question is, what is a Pastor responsible to do? You asked if it is his responsibility to keep the flock attentive. The answer is who am I to guess. What does the bible say? I would encourage everyone to look in their bible and see what it says a pastor is suppose to do. I think it would shock most people how little it says in regards to the issue.<>And of course I can agree with that…. but to not be foundationless as apparently I am prone to do in my statements, actually the Bible only references “pastors” one time in Ephesians 4:11. It is listed as a spiritual gift and not even an office of the church. Also, it is good to note that when it is listed (as are the other gifts in that passage) it is in a plural sense. The origin of the office of pastor is not even supported in the NT… and one can strongly make the case that the office of pastor didn’t even exist in the early church.But irregardless, now the church has pastors, and (NOTE: now I am sharing my foundationless opinions based on my limited personal experiences) they are heaped with a tremendous amount of responsibilities and expectations… some of them by their own doing, some of them coming from misguided congregations and some of them just come with the territory of being pastor in the modern American church. On one hand I feel bad for pastors and empathize with their situation… and on the other I share Peterson’s anger with how they misuse the office to feed their egos.We have an article on our site for anyone that wants to read one man’s research on the origin of the pastor…< HREF="http://www.ptmin.org/thepastor.htm" REL="nofollow">“Where Did the Pastor Come From?<>

  35. I don’t know mike todd. Me and jeff think you are missing the point, you see all these other people out there are doing stuff that isn’t scriptural so we have spent our time and energies explaining to them the error of their thought processes. Because of their commercailism we are stiffled and can have been greatly hindered here in America.I for one see how relevent others actions are to my doing things, that is why I must speak against them and their apparent ignorance. WE feel it is much wiser to stoop to the level of the ignorance that exists in the church rather than try to build a bridge with the truth seeking members of the modern church. I mean why should we, we are more concerned with correcting those who are already saved than we are with reaching those are lost. Isn’t that what Jesus came to do…correct the ignorant. One thing is for certain He did not come to seek and save that which was lost. (Are you feeling the sarcasm yet?)We have toggled around the idea that pastors are modern day Pharisees. The problem with that is we have to realize that the pharisees were selfish and full of malice. Many in the church today that are doing things that are wrong really believe that they are right. They think that they are doing what God has called them to do. They believe that they are doing something positive. So how are we conecting to them to change the way we see our christianity. I can’t how you can compare what Jesus said to the pharisees to a blanket comment to “pastor’s in America”.So you call it “identifying the problem”. So the problem is with pastors. I think the problem runs much deeper than that. The problem is with the week minded member’s of the Church of Christ who will not act on what God has told them to do. You say, look at what the PASTORS have become and yet they don’t even exist in the Bible. I say look what WE have become because we are righteoussness of God in Christ Jesus.Now who has missed the point?Everyone wants to know what we are are gonna do about these pastor’s, they made their title let them worry about it. The real question is what are we going to do about our complacency? It’s not semantics, I am addressing a mind set. The very mind set that has placed the power of our christianity in the hands of men who neither deserve it or know what to do with it. You see, I agree with Peterson(at least what I have read on the site), everything he says is correct he is just trying to correct a machine that by all reason has no right to exist. S keep on getting mad at churches and pastors when you should be getting mad at yourself for not stepping up.

Leave a Reply