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4 Trends In American Churches Today

Here are 4 trends in the American church that might surprise you and in my research, they surprised me.

The Perception of American Churches in Decline

I once described to a church member who was concerned with a shrinking church that churches are very much like people; they are born, they live, and they die. Then other churches are born, they live and then they die. Churches that last for centuries are the rare exception and even though a few have been around that long, the size of the parking lot, the number of bodies in the pews, and the financial stability of the church does not indicate the health or effectiveness of a church. According to Lifeway Research, in a September 2014 poll of 1,000 Americans who were asked what they believed the trends for the churches in America were, 55% thought that churches where on the decline while about 42% believed the churches were dying so taken as a whole about that’s about 97% of those polled who thought that the churches in America were either declining or dying. Even if this were not true, perception is reality to them. This poll included those in and outside of the church so there could have been some bias but the fact remains that many Americans believe the church is declining and dying and that is somewhat alarming. Remember that these are not actual statistics of real church’s numbers but only what people believe about the church’s trends and if that’s what they believe, then they will act accordingly in responding to corporate worship in a church setting. In other words, if that’s what they believe, despite the reality, it is true for them.

5 Myths Many Believe About A Pastor’s Workweek

Here are 5 myths that many people believe about a pastor’s workweek.

The Myth of Free Time

A Lifeway Research poll conducted in 2009 revealed that almost 60% of pastors worked from 50 to 70 hours a week. About 78% of pastors worked anywhere from a minimum of 40 to 49 hours per week. One in ten worked 70 hours or more a week so the idea that the pastor doesn’t have a real job is contrary to the facts and pastors predominantly work more than most people who hold jobs in the secular fields. If you throw in bi-vocational pastors the average is more like 70 + hours per week with many approaching 85-90 hours a week. That is like having two full time jobs and when you include the necessity for squeezing in time with family, there is precious little time left in the week and by the way, they need sleep too. Most only sleep about six to seven hours a night. It is near the very bottom as far as pay is concerned for those holding a professional degree which should shatter the myth that pastors are in it for the money. One man once asked a pastor “What do you do all week?” as if he only preached sermons on Sunday. The myth that pastors have a very short work week is found to be just the opposite. Some actually believe that pastors have all week to work on their sermon but the truth is that sermon preparation takes about 15-18 hours per week, administrative duties take about ten to twelve hours per week, visitation (e.g. hospitals) and outreach can take about eight hours per week and it takes about eight to ten hours per week working on bulletins, newsletters, agendas, committee meetings, deacon meetings agendas, preparing for board and other meetings and creating agendas for them, dealing finances like banking, deposits, as well as making utility payments, and calendaring for future church events and activities. Add a few more hours for meetings with community leaders or representatives combined with responding to emails, prayer requests, and phone conversations and you have a very long week already and this is not close to a comprehensive list of a pastor’s duties.

4 Areas Most Pastors Spend Too Much Time On

Here are 4 areas that pastors spend too much time on. Maybe you’ve got different things you spend too much time than these.

The Internet

I plead guilty to this, although I do have several websites I write for and I use social media as an evangelistic tool but it is far too easy to spend too much time on the Internet in frivolous ways. There is nothing inherently wrong with spending time using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram but it is far too easy to go overboard surfing the Internet for things that are not applicable to a pastor’s ministry and duties. I heard the thought that rumors can spread at twice the speed of sound around the Internet before the truth can catch up to it and so there is a credibility problem with information gathered on the net.

5 Simple Tips That Have Made My Life As A Pastor Easier
Here are five simple things that made my life as a pastor a whole lot easier. I hope they make your life easier too, whether you a pastor or not.

A Document Scanner

If you saw my desk you might say, “Where is it?” because my desk is buried under a ton of paper which includes sermon outlines, Bible verses, notes, and assorted other documents and papers that makes me fear sneezing because everything would go flying. Today there are several different document scanners that let you copy and organize all of your notes, outlines, or whatever other scraps of paper, literally stacks of paper if you’ve got them and then copy them into a scanner-like electronic machine and then store all of that information digitally and it’s all available at the touch of a finger on your computer’s desktop. Talk about organization! It’s marvelous and I know exactly where to find anything I want just by entering a key word or date (in which it was entered) to search and find it. That makes my life and I would bet makes your or your pastor’s life much more organized and simpler and it allows you to go almost completely paperless. What a great gift idea for the congregation too and it’s really in their best interests.

5 Topics To Preach On That Will Have A Huge Effect On Your Church

Here are 5 things to preach about that will greatly impact your church.

The Need for Repentance

The very first thing out of Jesus’ mouth when He started His earthly ministry was “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’ (Mark 1:15). Over 30 times in the New Testament repentance and faith are mentioned together. When the Tower of Siloam fell, killing 18 people, they asked if those who died were greater sinners than others but Jesus responded by saying “Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:4-5). It is God’s will that everyone would repent and not perish outside of faith in Christ (2 Pet 3:9). Before Jesus started His earthly ministry, John was preaching the very same thing about the need for repentance (Acts 13:24) and “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus” (Acts 19:4). Why would this topic make a big impact on the church? Because it seems only a few churches today even talk about the requirement of repentance. If you preach a biblical gospel, it will include repentance and if you preach the gospel, it has its own power of salvation to saved (Rom 1:16).


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