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20 Reasons Your New Pastor Might not Finish Well 40 Years from Now   

20 years ago PLI began with a simple equation…

  • When pastors and spouses become better, healthier leaders
  • The people they lead benefit, and
  • The congregation has greater capacity to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus.

Explore how the 1,000 Young Leaders Initiative can partner with your organization to extend the reach of the gospel for generations to come through the training and mobilization of young leaders. Join us for an introductory webinar on August 27. Sign up here.

A newly minted crop of gifted, young pastors (many with spouses) just graduated from U.S. seminaries; most don’t realize that what they do next may determine whether the next 40 years represent a wild adventure of fulfillment and challenge or an elongated season marked with disappointment and depletion.

PLI casts its vote for 40 years of wild adventure and fulfillment fully recognizing a disproportionate number of twists and turns that could derail a pastor toward disappointment and depletion. (Normally this blog targets church leaders…women and men, ordained and not.  So, if you’re not a pastor you’ll still find many of the following applicable to you.)


Here are the first 20 that could derail a pastor toward disappointment and depletion:

  1. Never taking responsibility to lead yourself. You ultimately disqualify yourself from leading others when you don’t lead yourself.   
  2. Avoiding conflict! Or…never dealing with it in a healthy way.
  3. Never understanding who you are, your core, your passion. Never matching your ministry to what God has designed in you. (Read Discover Your Leadership Sweet Spot)
  4. Never identifying your strengths and aligning your strengths to your ministry. (Most pastors spend the majority of their time doing things they’re not good at doing. As a result, they do them poorly and lose the respect of the people they lead.) (Read Are you Flourishing?)
  5. Unfair criticism from within the church.
  6. Toxic criticism from other pastors.
  7. More criticism…from people outside the church.
  8. Church consumerism. No discipleship. Church members expecting to be served.  
  9. No coach or mentor (formally or informally) for the beginning season and the “never been here before” seasons. (Read Mentoring Leads to Life-Enriching Leadership)
  10. Love of money.
  11. Seeking power or control.
  12. Sex…with the wrong person.
  13. Financial pressure in the church.
  14. Financial pressure at home.
  15. Not valued by judicatory leaders.
  16. Isolated. No friends. (Read In Community)
  17. Inability to deal with dysfunctional people and leaders.
  18. Inattention to your own relational or emotional unhealth.
  19. Pornography.
  20. Trained for a church world that’s gone and no training for the mission field that’s here.

Churches change for the better when leaders change for the better. And, leaders can take action when they can put a name on what needs to change.

So, quick survey…

  1. Pick 3 from the list where you’re in good shape. No problems for you!
  2. Pick 2 where it’s absolutely time to stop making excuses and it’s time for action.
  3. Pick a couple of pastors. Forward this to them with a word of encouragement.

A final thought…  If the 73.4 million millennials (the largest U.S. adult generation) is mostly missing from your church and your leaders are curious about training and sending some indigenous missionaries, sign up (Link) for the 1000 Young Leader webinar next week.

If you’d like to receive regular emails from PLI with blogs like this one, sign up here.

One Response

  1. Mark Werner says:

    Thank You! I intend to save this list and revisit it from time to time.

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