Ups and Downs of Ministry Research Barna Infographic

Michael Mooney, NACM Exec. Elder (144)

I live in Greenville SC. I am married to the woman of my dreams and we have 4 children. I have been in ministry 20+ years. I graduated from Liberty University. I have a Diploma of Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Science in Religion, Master of Business Administration, and a Master of I/O Psychology. I most enjoy camping, music production, and basking in the presence of the Holy Spirit while worshipping.

2 thoughts on “Ups and Downs of Ministry Research Barna Infographic”

  1. And this is the problem! When a pastor’s favorite thing to do is talk…weeelll…is he or she connecting with their people? Let’s break this down.

    66% Preaching and talking (hmm…someone likes the sound of their own voice. Lol! I understand the teaching aspect. But allow me to unpack this…)
    (And Michael thank you for this infograph! I am adding this to a podcast topic because it is crucial to our current body of Christ situation today.) 
    10%- Developing other leaders
    Bill Maxwell would have a hay day with this statistic! His book “Developing the Leaders Around You”, would shine bright light on how dark it is that the pastors polled on this infograph only enjoy spending a minuscule 10% of their time developing other leaders. Isn’t that one of the most important parts of leadership? Train and developing more leaders to go and train and develop more leaders? 
    8% Discipling believers
    This is the Great Commission my friends right from the mouth of our Lord and Savior. When we wonder why the laxity of our believers is bending towards new age and unbiblical walks…we can see that when the leadership of the church sees discipling believers as something at the bottom of the totem pole…well ladies and gentleman…what can one expect? Babies can no more feed themselves than new believers can develop in their Christian walk with sound doctrine without solid foundational leadership. It’s not just about saving souls. In fact, we do not do the saving, that is a work of the Holy Spirt. It seems many churches are too focused on numbers instead of human beings and nurturing and developing those new or young lives in Christ. Or what about the backslider returning to the Lord? They especially need discipling to help arm them properly in establishing stronger faith and not returning to their old life. These are axioms folks. 
    6% Evangelizing / Sharing the Gospel
    Again, the Great Commission from the mouth of the Savior of the World was commanded to us and this is unbelievable! There is really no other way to say this than I am stunned at my core in a world mimicking that of the days of the Roman Empire morally that we wonder why? Here is the answer…we are in the end times. We all know it and the focus should be on evangelism more than ever. Time is short. Jesus said He did not know the hour or day. He did not say, year or season. This specific statistic should go without saying…shame on the pastors involved in this poll. The truth is, you don’t even need this infograph to see the heart of the church the last many decades. Had the church been in order, the world would not be so out of order. However, a revival awaits…it is coming. A revival like none of us have ever experienced. Praise God for that! 
    5% Pastoral Care
    This is a part of the job. We are His hands and His feet. This is us, showing Him outwardly to an individual or a family or a couple or a group in a way that transcends the pulpit and makes it real. THAT MATTERS!
    2% Organizing church events
    If the 10% in “developing other leaders” was invested properly or hiring the right team was in place, this would not need to be on the pastor’s plate. The pastor may develop the concepts, brainstorm, etc. As far as the actual organization of said events, that is what delegation is. That can be delegated to the appropriate parties within the “developed leadership.”

    Frustrations with apathetic parishioners top the list. But in fact, from the stats above, does it not seem also seem that the pastor himself is also apathetic? The primary objective seems more about “listen to me” than, “I am here for you.” 
    35% Lack of commitment among laypeople
    People commit to things that they feel invested in. Things that they feel like they are a part of. If they feel like they matter, they care more. At the end of the day, there is a level of self that is impossible to ignore when dealing with people because we are in living in our skin…therefore the “flesh” is always present. What matters is helping others believe that they matter because they DO matter! We are all parts of the same body and no one part is more important than another no matter the title or lack thereof. In today’s world, that is lost on many and that is sad. But the greatest thing we can do for laypeople is encourage, encourage and encourage some more! Because that is what lifts their spirits, lets them know they making an impact and keeps them committed to mission. If a pastor is more focused on himself, his goals, or his mission others feel that and hence the lack of commitment becomes self-evident. 
    27% Low spiritual maturity among churchgoers
    Pastors are the spiritual parents of their spiritual children. I want to say it that simply because everything that follows only further supports that premise. Children, gardens, anything that “grows” are great examples of how spiritual maturity develops. Apostle Paul has so much discourse on throughout the New Testament. This is only a quarter percent of a concern though. Does this concern anyone else? Looking at the overall fruit and condition of the world today, I would say that as the body of Christ our parent’s generation missed the mark. Or maybe somewhere between theirs and ours. I certainly never thought I would live in a time called a “post-Christian society!” If that isn’t a wake-up call, the church does not want to wake up! 
    19% Financial/administrative duties
    Most people do not love this! lol
    18% Church politics
    It is tragic that even in the church we have to contend with this. We do live in a fallen world, so it is par for the course.
    16% Implementing change
    This is where true growth happens. Pruning comes to mind. 
    10% Working with the denomination
    I have strong feelings about denominations since Jesus is our Savior and He is not a denomination. In fact, that is what has fractured one faith in Him. I will leave this one alone. 
    8% Relational difficulties
    No one loves this but it is a necessary part of and is actually a great opportunity execute conflict management and resolution skills incorporating Christian counseling techniques and can bring about great resolve and deeper relationships working through things. 

    This section sheds some light on helping to better understand the above statistics. Which also changes some of the previous statements covering those statistics…
    57% Preaching and teaching
    Not this one…clearly confidence is established here. That being said, since this seems to by far, the highest percentage on what pastors love and what they believe they are good at, it affords the time to invest in becoming better at some of these others very important areas which desperately need their attention.
    29% Connecting with neighborhood / city
    I believe this is connected to “evangelizing / sharing the gospel.” 
    29% Leading the organization
    Could it be that maybe, if a pastor questions their ability to lead well that it may the cause of why they do not love developing leadership in others? Could it be that strong solid leaders need to spend annual or quarterly visits with pastors? Maybe seminars or have consultants come in? Maybe the pastor needs a leadership advisor? If you love what you do, you’ll do it more and you’ll do it happily right? Joy of the Lord type stuff, correct? 
    24% Counseling / pastoral care
    Coming from a background as a life coach, relationship specialist, teacher, headmistress, pro bono counselor, consultant, advisor, and everything other role on this infograph except pastor, I can say with complete conviction that all of these traits intertwine…or at least they should. However, empathy is not always natural and a genuine love for people is necessary. I cannot imagine that anyone would become a pastor if they did not love people. So, this may also benefit from a stronger sense of guided training. 
    14% Mentoring younger leaders
    You know, this one is different than the others because depending on the age of the pastor and the background, etc., he may not be able to relate to the younger leader. Today is such an odd in which to live. What our children are exposed to today is mindboggling and treacherous in my opinion. So, this one could really be tricky depending on the pastor. 
    10% Evangelzing / sharing the gospel
    Again, ladies and gentleman it breaks my heart to see this! Since this is the static that falls under “Pastors are good at”, I am stumped at how a pastor can have confidence in a message but not in evangelism. Then again, in regards to the aforementioned it could be about the day in which we live. Evangelizing has changed as the Christian has been made out to be an evil thing in the eyes of the world. I propose we learn how to arm our pastors encouragement and we all pray for them daily. The revival that is coming will be a game changer. But this is truly what should be at the top of every Christians list in regards to ministry! We should be kingdom minded! 
    6% Mobilzing 
    This is a leadership quality that should be already present. Like that of a cheerleader or a rally cry that sparks movements like the Great Awakening. Boldness, like the New Testament church, postured in humility. “Enthusiasm is contagious”, is what my Dad used to say. Especially when it’s about sharing the unconditional life changing love of Christ. But fear is a fretful enemy isn’t he? We need to pray for our leaders. 

    In conclusion, what I have seen and what the Lord has placed on my heart the last few years is that we, and the leaders of the church need to be postured in humility. Fasting, biblical needs to be a regular practice. Jesus didn’t say “if’ you fast, He said “when” you fast. Prayer is what brought revival. Not usual prayer, unusual prayer. Long, dedicated, intentional, humble and heartfelt prayer with others…small groups even. I have been amazed at what I have learned in the History of Revival course I completed last semester. But works and lectures by Leonard Ravenhill, J. Edwin Orr and Wesley Duewel’s book “Revival Fire” have confirmed these things. He moves when we pray friends. We need a Rushing Wind to move through this world and set things afire so we shine His light on our faces like the Abaka people in East Africa in 1930’s. 
    The world, even the church, has become so consumed by social media and self that the selflessness of what Christ displayed for us has been lost on many and that translates into these numbers on this infograph. Please do not misread my heart as I am not being cruel or harsh. I am being terse as I have seen many people led astray and disillusioned by modern day Christianity and even by what is considered traditional Christianity and I am concerned for these lost people’s souls! I am sure you all have experienced this and its just heartbreaking when a Christian leader is responsible for causing someone to question their faith.
    The church has allowed too much of the world in…
    “The church should be in the world, just as a ship should be in the ocean. But the ocean should not be in the ship and the world should not be in the church.” – J. Edwin Orr
    Ultimately, after years at taking a good hard look at my own life, failures, triumphs and where my flesh led instead of spirit, I speak from that place. So, I hope this is received as such. “Sometimes, He has to take the vessel we currently are…crush it into a fine powder so He can add His Living Water to create new clay to mold us into His planned page for us.” 

    **I logged onto the website today to change my email address and yeah…this was not on my radar or list of things to do! LOL! I guess there was another plan. 🙂

    So much love and blessings,

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