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Archive for July 19th, 2013

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Here’s a link from Christianity Astray that announced “Barely Half of Weekly Churchgoers Think Pastors Contribute “A Lot” to Society.”

I went to read more from the Pew Forum themselves at this link http://www.pewforum.org/Other-Demographics/Public-Esteem-for-Military-Still-High.aspx#middling

I was asked on facebook of my thoughts on the study, specifically concerning people’s perception of the Clergy/Pastors.

First of, I think it’s important that how we evaluate ministry must be by the Word of God rather than what “works” in getting people to have more of a favorable view of the clergy, the church, etc.  We must never forget that faithfulness to God’s Word is the goal and not points of popularity.

Secondly, to be honest, I am surprise that it’s that high still. I think its more interesting seeing the further breakdown between the perception of the clergy by religious affiliation and how in particular White Mainline Protestants and Black Protestants who historically have clergy intensely involved with political activism has lower rating that White Evangelicals today. I wished the Pew Study could have explored more the correlation of clergy’s activity (social justice, Bible focus only churches, conservative or liberal political activism, etc) with the lay people’s perception of clergy’s contribution to society.

Thirdly, people themselves don’t judge their pastor’s contribution to society in a vacuum.  I know this might go beyond a poll survey, and maybe more of ethnography, but I wonder what people mean by contribution towards society, and how that expectation would shape the way they evaluate that of their minister.

Fourthly, I think one assessment that Evangelicals must make in light of this study is to ponder why do we go to church in the first place: If we view the clergy, leaders of our faith, as contributing little to society, what does that say about our faith and living out the implication of our faith? Now I think it’s problematic when we become so ingrained with contributing to society that we miss the Gospel or when it’s not Gospel focus and Gospel motivated; but the Gospel has implications and radical ramifications in every sphere of our life. Perhaps (a big perhaps) the reason why some people can still regularly attend church and yet have a low preception of their minister’s contribution and still be going week after week is because they see faith as a private subjective experience and not something that really makes any difference. Now THAT is truly frightening. And let’s hope Evangelical Gospel preachers aren’t reinforcing that.

Let’s pray Pastors are preaching the Gospel and drawing out the implication of the Gospel to bear to real life.  Let’s pray that the church become evangelistic to a lost and dying world!

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