Good Luck With That

In so many ways, I see the workings of a local church as a sign of God's sense of humor.

 - The whole idea of a pastor shepherding sheep who are so independent and prone to wander. Good luck with that one . . .

 - That sheep (church members) follow the leadership of someone much younger, older, from another region of the country (yes, I'm a Yankee), from a different background, different education, different views (of KJV and hymns), different . . . . Good luck with that one . . .

 - That God calls all of us, with all of our differences of opinion and methods of doing things, to come together and love each other in a spirit of unity. This does not happen at family gatherings, but it's expected to happen at church??? Good luck with that . . .

This Sunday, September 12, we will be in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 where the Apostle Paul writes to the church of Thessalonica about relationships within the church. Relationships between the clergy and the laity. The pastor and the people.

As Paul writes, it's very clear that the pastor has some things to do and the people have some things to do to make this relationship work.

The Pastor needs to:
1. Labor well (12) / work well (13)
2. Lead well (12) by example
3. Admonish / teach / instruct well through the truths of Scripture (12)

The people needs to:
1. Respect and recognize the position / person leading them spiritually (12)
2. Esteem your spiritual leaders "very highly in love" (13)
3. Be at peace among yourselves (13)

When these six things happen, the church of Thessalonica and the church of West Pines will be healthy and God-honoring.

So what happens in churches?
Why are the statistics so alarming?


  • 1,500 clergy leaving pastoral ministry each month (Barna Research Group)
  • 61% of congregations have forced a pastor to leave (Christianity Today)
  • 83% of clergy spouses want their spouse to leave pastoral ministry (Hartford Institute for Religious Research)
  • 90% of clergy in all denominations will not stay in ministry long enough to reach the age of retirement (US Bureau of Labor & Statistics)
  • 50% of pastors indicated they would leave the ministry if they had another way of making a living (Hartford Institute for Religious Research)
  • 90% of pastors report working between 55-75 hours per week
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; many pastors’ children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents
  • 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family
  • 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started
  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month
  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves
  • The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year
  • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without a cause
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year
  • Many denominations report an “empty pulpit” crisis; they cannot find ministers willing to fill positions

I hope to see you this Sunday we we look into God's Word and see His teachings about healthy relationships within the church. I praise God for WPBC and the healthy relationships we have here.

God Bless and be safe,
Pastor Paul

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