Pastor’s Article 5/18/2022
The calling of a new pastor is an exciting & joyful time for a church. After all, a new pastor typically brings fresh vision and energy to the congregation. It is a type of re-birth, or at least re-vitalization.
However, a pastoral transition is also a serious time insofar as not every transition works out so well. The new pastor may be a poor fit either culturally or theologically. He may also have significant flaws or weaknesses that did not come to light during the search process.
Senior Pastor Results
Here’s a bit of news that should be sobering to churches searching for a new pastor:
Only slightly more than a third (37%) of senior pastors possess a biblical worldview, or philosophy of life that largely reflects biblical truth and principles.
Instead, the majority of senior pastors have a predominantly syncretistic worldview, defined as “a blending of ideas from a variety of holistic worldviews into a unique but inconsistent combination that represents their personal preferences.”
These were among the findings of the annual American Worldview Inventory conducted by the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University. Normally, a representative sample of all Americans is surveyed, but this year, they focused on Christian pastors.*
The Inventory includes 54 worldview-related questions that fall within 8 categories of belief and behavior. Senior pastors scored highest on the Purpose/Calling category and lowest on the Bible/Truth/Morals category.
Youth Pastor Results
The results for youth pastors were even worse: Only 12% of youth pastors have a biblical worldview. This is critical given that the students they work with are rapidly developing their own worldview.**
If a teenager’s pastor doesn’t have a biblical worldview, what are the chances the student will develop one?
Beliefs & Character
When selecting a new pastor, churches tend to focus on a candidates’ abilities and personality. For example: Is he a good leader? Is he personable? This is understandable.
However, the Bible mentions only one ability necessary for a pastor; namely, the ability to preach and teach God’s Word. Other than that, it’s all about his beliefs and character.
The Search Committee certainly has its work cut out for them. Hopefully, you’re praying for them every day.
*1,000 Christian pastors were surveyed, with a margin of error of less than 3%. I’m sure results vary by denominational affiliation, but it costs $15 to get the full report.
**A person’s worldview is typically developed by their mid-teens.