Pastors Who Lack Interest

Sam Rainer

February 14, 2007

I’m not too big on cooking. I worked as the grill guru-master at a local wings joint for three years while in college, so I know my way around fast food. But I am certainly not a skilled chef. It is just something for which I have no passion.

Being recently married, my wife and I have discovered that we must cook something in order to eat. It was a bit of a shock that first week of marriage. Neither of us is all that passionate about cooking. And this lack of interest recently showed when we tried to host a dinner party a couple of weeks ago.

We saw this recipe in a cookbook that sounded quite tasty. But cookbooks are only good in theory – you have to follow the directions in order to produce something edible. What we concocted for this dinner party was certainly not edible. We were attempting to make something called soufflé. What we got was ‘soup-ple.’ Luckily, we had enough chips and dip to squelch any hunger pains.

For a couple of weeks we laughed about how pitiful our attempt was, but we didn’t figure out our mistake until we were making another dish. For all you single persons and young married couples out there who are learning to cook, here’s a grand tip: when the stick of butter says ‘1 tbsp’ on the side, it doesn’t mean that the entire stick of butter equals one tablespoon It means just that one section is a tablespoon. I know, I know, I’m a flippin’ genius. You can thank me later.

The bottom line: to be a good chef you need to be passionate and knowledgeable about the kitchen. The same passion applies to any job that you undertake. It also applies to ministry. And why people go into the ministry without passion for what they are doing baffles me. In a recent study by Ellison Research, it was uncovered that four out of ten pastors state that they are not interested in reaching out further to their communities. Such is the case with all major denominations, and it holds true with both evangelical and mainline churches. So how can a pastor not want to do the ministry required of the position?

The excuses abound – from lack of funds or facilities to not enough time to outright apathy about the community. It’s time for pastors and churches to drop the excuses. Many will say, “Once we grow some more, then we can…” But growth of a church just cannot occur nor be sustained unless that church is reaching out to the community in some fashion.

It’s so easy to get into the internal mindset, falling into the trap of focusing solely on the members of the church. While this ministry is crucially important, Christ also calls Christians to an entire world of ministry beyond the church walls.

And there are many easy ways to reach out to people who may have never stepped foot into any church. One idea that I saw work at my first church was serving a free community breakfast before Sunday morning service, advertising it to the surrounding neighbors. But the point is not the actual program. The point is getting people excited about an outward focus in the church. Once this fire catches, it is contagious. And it must start at the top. If you are one of the four out of ten pastors wallowing in apathy, then more than likely your church will not see an outward focus come to fruition. Those who are lay leaders, one way to spark a fire is to demonstrate to the pastor your passion of seeing people come to know Christ. We must all be leaders in the area of evangelism and outreach. The bright side is that 6 out of 10 pastors truly want to reach out further to their communities. But the imperative of Acts 1:8 is simply not optional. This imperative also calls us beyond just our immediate communities. And nothing would be more exciting than seeing whole segments of a people come to Christ, sparking a global revival.

7 comments on “Pastors Who Lack Interest”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    Your point is well taken. I have never seen a truly outwardly-focused church without an outwardly-focused pastor. Keep reminding us of the importance of Godly leadership by example.

  2. Florina C. Agtarap says:

    Hi Pastor Sam! My name is Rina. I’m Filipino and residing in the Philippines. I just want you to know that I’ve been getting a lot of spiritual insights (not to mention having a good laugh about your personal stories) from reading your posts. I believe it’s no coincidence that I’ve come across your site.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the things that matter in our day-to-day walk with God. They not only enrich and encourage, but challenge us, your readers, to attempt great things for God.

    I attend the Victory Christian Fellowship (under the Morning Star International founded by American pastors Rice Brooks and Steve Murrell) where I lead a small group of single women.

    God bless you.


  3. Sam Rainer says:

    Florina and kdb1411, thanks for stopping by and for the encouraging words. As a pastor, my heart lies with the local church. Whatever small part I can play to help lead the church to better health is worth all my efforts.

  4. BJ Foust says:

    I have listen to many sermons from the pulpits on Sundays. And many of them talk alot about bring the Gospel message to the community .They preach on how people need to hear the message every Sunday but I have yet to be a member of a church who is really passionate about outreach.Mission trips are great for a week of feel good outreach and then it is over.
    I have worked as a youth leader in church and I loved it .We had many outreach programs that the youth in the area could attend inside of our church. Great concerts to introduce Christian music and a coffee house for the youth to bring all of thier unchurched friends. While the programs were successful in the long run to grow our number of youth attending the programs, I do not believe it kept them in church.
    As with many churches the youth come and go. They grow up and go to college and move on with their lives . Some stay and attend the church but many don’t. So I pray that the programs we are giving to youth have basic discipleship training for them to present the Gospel to other people,with the understanding that studying God’s Word is important for their daily lives in order for them to live the life that God intends them to live.Without the fundamentals they will not be equiped to do what the commission commands them to do.
    I would like to see more churches come together in unity to train mission leaders and staff to go out into the communities and plant a church in the neighborhoods who are poor and non churched .To set up these leaders to be in the mission field weekly reaching out to the lost who do not have a church. The poor need this kind of outreach. The children of the poor and non-churched need this outreach. It can be done if more people are willing to donate 3 hours of their life a week to serve the communities they live in and plant a church in a local high school to reach out to the communities.One service a week with mission workers and a planned church service with worship for the ones who are lost. This is what I pray for.

  5. Sam Rainer says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, BJ. The more outward a church looks, the healthier they become on the inside. I pray every church member catches your passion for the lost.

  6. Jackie says:

    Are you Sam of Sarasota Baptist? I’ve been a member for over 16 years and just recently got married. I’ve been struggling with getting connected at SBC and came across your name. Funny cause I was also looking for cooking tips/lessons. Must be a sign?….lol

  7. Sam Rainer says:

    Jackie –

    That Sam I am 🙂

    And you certainly do NOT want to take cooking tips from me.

    See you around SBC – let me know if I can do anything for you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *