Three Unreasonable Expectations Pastors Have of Their Churches

February 19, 2020

By Sam Rainer

I have high expectations of my church. Church members should worship together often, give generously, serve sacrificially, and make disciples of all nations. There are no exceptions to these high expectations. The mission of God requires an all-in effort from every believer in every church.

Of course, plenty of low expectation churches exist. The come-and-see consumer mentality is an unfortunate church culture that is far too prevalent. Good church leaders expect more of their churches. However, in this post I want to address unreasonable expectations pastors have of their churches. I’ve seen these unreasonable expectations in churches with a low view of membership, as well as churches with a high view of membership. 

  1. Agreement is the same as unity. I doubt you ever experience a moment in your ministry where everyone in the church agrees with you at the same time. Let’s be real: The only place total agreement exists is in dictatorships, where “agreement” is forced. As a pastor, good people will occasionally disagree with you. If you lead a church with over a couple dozen people, then at least one of them will disagree with you about something at any given point. Agreement or disagreement occurs over specific decisions, and you will not always get everyone to agree with you. However, I do hope your church is unified at all times. Unity is a Spirit-led culture in the church that should be exhibited by everyone.
  1. Passion is often contagious. “Passion is contagious!” Sure, I’ve said it many times. Passion can be contagious, but it is not often contagious. Some areas of the church self-generate passion. Most others do not (Who wants to help stack chairs?). That’s why it takes more than passion to lead and disciple people. You cannot expect passion to be contagious.
  1. The bulk of leadership can be done in the pulpit. A common piece of pastoral advice floating around is, “Just preach the Word!” I appreciate the spirit of this statement because I have a high view of Scripture and preaching. But telling someone to “Just preach the Word” is kind of like telling a politician to “Just give good speeches.” Preaching is critically important, but you can’t rely on the pulpit for the bulk of your leadership.

Agreement, passion, and preaching are three important areas of church leadership. Just don’t have unreasonable expectations of your church with them. 

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6 Comments

  • Herberdh Chicas says on

    Hello Thom,
    I just finished reading/enjoying your book “Autopsy o a Deceased Church” As I was reading the book, I wrote a proposal requested by a pastor of a small congregation in Houston. His church is very sick, so I took your book as a guide to identify the reasons/causes of his congregation’s sickness. Thanks for such an amazing book the Holy Ghost led you to write.

  • Cotton Mathis says on

    4. That right will prevail.

    When false teachers and heresy promoters hit your church, don’t expect people to not follow after them.

    Many of them are charismatic — they can generate a following.

    And most of them want to oust the existing pastor so they can put a heretic in the pulpit of their own choosing who is as wicked as they are.

    Satan has blinded so many people in churches today. The majority will believe anything if it is loud enough and lied about long enough.

    Don’t expect the truth to win in a “showdown” in a church.

    • Cotton,

      You’re certainly right…in the short term. Many or most pastors have experienced that. But there will certainly be a reckoning in both directions, as I read the Scriptures.

  • Who is Sam?