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Why Time Off Is So Vital For Pastors

What is time off so vital for pastors? What happens if they don’t get adequate time away from the church?


Doesn’t Everybody Need a Vacation?

I was once told by a man that pastors don’t need vacations because they have six days before Sunday to relax but I told this man that the average pastor works between 50 and 70 hours and for bi-vocational pastors, it is even worse. Then I asked him, “Do you take vacations?” and of course he said yes “But that’s not the same!” I asked why. He didn’t really give me a good answer but only tried to justify himself why he needed vacations but not pastors. Everyone else gets to take a paid vacation so why shouldn’t a pastor take one? In fact, he better if he knows what’s best for him, his family, and his church. The sad fact is that most get few vacations and few days off.

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6 Common Habits Many Great Spiritual Leaders Have

Here are 6 common habits of some of the greatest spiritual leaders that I could find.


Full of Integrity

I believe that the qualifications of the pastor mentioned in the Books of Titus and 1st Timothy show that any pastor and certainly any great spiritual leader must have integrity. Just as a pastor or any real spiritual leader “must be above reproach he must [also] not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9). Paul tells Timothy close to the same things that he “must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive” (1Tim 3:2-4) and “must not be a recent convert” (1 Tim 3:6). If anyone is thought to be a great spiritual leader, they are obedient to God’s commands and live a life that is “above reproach.”

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4 Important Lessons Big Churches Can Learn From Smaller Churches

What can a big church possibly learn from a small church? You’d be surprised.


A Sense of Humility

Sometimes I have spoken with other pastors of other larger churches and they speak about their large membership numbers like notches in their belt or almost like a badge that’s been earned when the fact is that it is God Who gives the increase (Acts 2:47) and big doesn’t always mean better. I am not against mega-churches per say but I am against them when they look down upon smaller churches, like the one that I pastor at, simply because we are fewer in number. Since when did God associate size with greatness or effectiveness? The Bible is full of examples where the majority was often wrong and the smaller, minority groups were the only ones who believed God and were being obedient. I am not saying that smaller is better but there are some things that the bigger churches can learn from smaller ones. Jesus never referred to the “many” or “most” as being a determining factor in whether someone or something was better. On the contrary, He referred to His church as small saying “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

 

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5 Reasons Many Churches Are Losing Members In America

Why is church membership on the decline? Is it due to the members themselves, the pastorate, or something else?


The Disappearing Youth

As a former Sunday school teacher of some twenty years, I have seen more and more of these children go off to college and fall away from their belief in God. First of all, the national divorce rate for people who regularly attend church is about the same as those who do not – roughly 50% so it would appear that church members are becoming more and more like the world. Secondly, two out of three high school kids coming from Evangelical homes that go off to college are agnostic or atheistic by the time they graduate. Since the youth of today are the future of the church, the more youth that fall away in disbelief, the less they are there to replace those who are older in the faith as they age and either pass away or go into nursing homes or assisted living centers. There is no replacement of membership to fill in those who are becoming too old to attend or are becoming shut-ins so that is having the effect of dwindling attendance numbers in churches. It also hasn’t helped that in the past 20 years, the number of American people who say they have no religion has doubled and has now reached 15 percent. Those numbers are concentrated in the under-30 population. The polling data continues to show that a dramatic exit is taking place from American Christian churches. The Barna Group, a leading research organization focusing on the intersection of faith and culture, reported in 2012 that 80 percent of the young people raised in a church will be “disengaged” before they are 30. This is perhaps the biggest reason that so many churches are losing membership in America.

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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.

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