I was not surprised when the Pope told Catholic priests practice what you preach. Quote…
Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the church’s credibility…
Protestant pastors need to heed the Pope’s words in this area! In another article about clergy mental, physical, and spiritual health, this was written…
(Beginning in the 1920s) Clergy became “pastoral directors” who focused on the administrative tasks of managing and maintaining churches for the benefit of the denomination. And, as retired United Methodist bishop Richard Wilke has noted, by the 1960s, pastors were being evaluated on their “competency, acquired skills, and professional status.”
Until the 1920s, the pastor was a cura animarum, the “cure of souls,” or “curate” — a person who cared for souls by helping people locate themselves in God’s greater story. The first step in this work was the pastor’s own attention to… his soul-care through an intentional focus on… his personal relationship with the Holy.
Churches are “places for programs” and because of this, pastors themselves “haven’t known the church to be a place of spiritual formation.” As a result of their own poverty in spiritual formation and relationship with God, pastors are not prepared to help people build relationships with God.
Do you realize how significant those quotes are?! PASTORS have/are neglecting their own spiritual health to the detriment of the church! Pastors have abandoned God’s call to follow the world’s business model and the expectations of those they’re called to care for! In other words, PASTORS are primarily responsible for the dismal spiritual condition of God’s people in America. Not only that, they have starved their own souls to the point they are incapable of leading God’s people closer to God. The anemic condition of the churches in our nation is because PASTORS are anemic in their walk with God!
My suggested remedy for pastors (First the negative):
Forget what others think of you and the “effectiveness” of your ministry!
Resign from denominational boards and committees for a good while (You’re not called to serve a denomination but a local flock of God’s people).
Quit having to present the latest or coolest program… book… or seminar at the church (Caring for souls isn’t doing the greatest or trending thing!).
Quit preaching everywhere else and focus on faithfully delivering God’s Word to the people God sent you to. Either be a traveling God called evangelist or a pastor, you are NOT called to be both.
Quit wasting so much time on good things and focus intently on the BEST thing for God’s people… preaching, teaching, and ministering God’s Word TO THEM. Charge deacons and church members to do the other stuff. YOU are called to do something much more important!
Quit worrying about what anyone (Or everyone else) is doing, you lead your people to connect with God through His Word, prayer, and worship.
THEN… in place of all those things:
Walk with God yourself!
Invest at least a hour a day praying for God’s people you have responsibility for.
Read (Slowly) God’s Word every day for your own spiritual well being (Not just to get up a sermon or Bible study!).
As you study God’s Word to present to His people, stay in an attitude of prayer.
Final word… for Pastors…
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Rev 3:2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.