From The Servant, Volume 2, Issue 1, February 1997

Something To Think About!

Dr. G. Lloyd Rediger, Author of Clergy Killers, when asked why the epidemic of incivility and abuse is showing up in the church at this time, responded with four reasons:

The church now mirrors rather than leads society. This means that with so much incivility and violence in society, it is bound to spill over into the church.

There’s an enormous shift in American attitudes from rugged individualism to entitlement thinking. Whereas America was once viewed as a ‘land of opportunity,’ there is now a growing tendency to think of it as a place for comfort and security on demand, with ‘others’ responsible to produce it. With the church now reflecting society, parishioners feel unhappy and even vengeful when they are not comfortable in church.

Another reason lies in the business model for church operation. Most congregations and denominations are now run as a business rather than as a mission, causing a radical change in expectations. The pastor, though not trained for such a role, must now function as a manager, responsible for keeping the customers and stockholders happy. Without a sacrificial sense of mission, parishioners know only whether or not they are happy with the pastor.

This leads to another reason, which is the loss of respect for the role of the pastor. When the pastor is expected to please people rather than be their spiritual leader, respect for God’s called servant, the church’s mission, and for the spiritual dimension of life is lost in unrealistic expectations of comfort. This kind of spiritual sickness is contagious and requires radical healing methods. It is taking longer than it should.

 

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