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PreachParsly
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Joined: 2005/1/14
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Arkansas

 Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters

Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters

By Allie Martin
January 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - A leading Christian researcher says if churches believe in the life-changing power of the gospel, they must do a better job when it comes to holding congregants to a higher standard.

The Barna Group conducted two surveys which found a sizeable gap between the perception of pastors and the reality of people's devotion to God. For example, pastors were asked to identify what they felt was the most important priority for their church members. Overall, pastors said a majority of their members would put their faith in God at the top of the list -- but only 15 percent of church members surveyed listed their faith as their first priority. (See earlier article)

George Barna, president of the Barna Group, says core issues -- such as stewardship -- are not seen as valid indicators of church vitality. Barna says a church can establish a budget based on the notion that all church families are going to tithe (give 10 percent of their income) to the church. "But then what you're going to wind up with is a lot of disappointed people," the researcher asserts, "because we know that currently only six percent of born-again families actually tithe.

"On the other hand," he continues. "setting the standards so low that there's really no reason for people to give more generously and more biblically ... creates a different kind of problem."

Similarly, evangelism is apparently not a priority in most churches. "The fact that most churched adults do not verbally share the gospel in a given year is not deemed problematic," Barna's survey summary states.

The researcher says his findings indicate that many pastors and church leaders are more concerned with leading an institution than they are with people's spiritual growth and maturity. Pastors, he says, are often focused on building programs, budgets, and activities, while church members are seeking a deeper walk with the Lord.

Barna explains there is a "growing number of people" who are saying they want more of God in their life and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. But many of those, he claims, are saying "I'm not sure that I can get it from a local church. I may have to go outside the box, outside the walls to find that kind of relationship and opportunity and network so that I can really be the Church rather than think so much about am I just attending a church."

Barna encourages church leaders to stop pandering for popularity, and instead to challenge their congregations to a higher and more challenging standard. For example, he observes in his findings that pastors are "nine times more likely to seek reactions to their sermon than they are to assess the congregation’s reactions to visitors."

"Perhaps most alarming of all," says the Barna report, "pastors were 21 times more likely to evaluate whether people showed up (i.e., attendance) than to determine whether people experienced the presence of God during their time at the church."

The surveys questioned 627 pastors and 1002 adults nationwide, and were conducted in October and November 2005.
[url=http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/1/202006c.asp]Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters[/url]


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Josh Parsley

 2006/1/23 12:53Profile









 Re: Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters

How true this article is...

Krispy

 2006/1/23 14:54
PreachParsly
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Joined: 2005/1/14
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Arkansas

 Re: Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters

Quote:
Barna encourages church leaders to stop pandering for popularity, and instead to challenge their congregations to a higher and more challenging standard.



So does PreachParsly.


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Josh Parsley

 2006/1/23 16:13Profile
brentw
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Joined: 2005/12/14
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 Re:

Still a little shallow but we're getting somewhere. ;-)


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Brent

 2006/1/23 17:33Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
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 Re: Barna: Pastors Need to Push Flocks Harder on Spiritual Matters

"Pastors Need to Push Flocks..."
I don't need to read any further. I can't imagine anything more foolhardy than a shepherd trying to 'push' a flock of sheep. If there are 50 sheep they will head in 51 directions! Pastors can lead a flock [i]and[/i] they can follow it, but 'push' it? Surely not?


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Ron Bailey

 2006/1/24 9:28Profile
PreachParsly
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 Re:

Quote:

philologos wrote:
"Pastors Need to Push Flocks..."
I don't need to read any further. I can't imagine anything more foolhardy than a shepherd trying to 'push' a flock of sheep. If there are 50 sheep they will head in 51 directions! Pastors can lead a flock [i]and[/i] they can follow it, but 'push' it? Surely not?



Ah! I agree. It might not be that the pastor needs to 'push' anyone. Maybe its the pastor himself that needs more discipline in 'spiritual matters.'

It seems to me that who ever you are 'discipled' by you imitate. Whether that be man or God.. or a man of God!


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Josh Parsley

 2006/1/24 11:32Profile
brentw
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 Re:

"Push" means here to stress a closer walk with God. Pastors dont "emphasise" a deep relationship with Christ. This is a big problem within the church that we get caught up on a word and debate about it and all along loose focus on winning souls. We play right into the devils hands. We loose focus on revival because we debate over simple doctrinal issues that dont way into eternity, or what translation we should read.....God help us! The church has so many problems of her own she cant solve let alone to try to solve the worlds problems. As Ravenhill used to say: just tell me how to get closer to God....thats all matters!! 2% of christians witness, and the 98% debate over petty issues.
J. Wesley said "Gentleman you have one thing to do and one thing only WIN SOULS!!"


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Brent

 2006/1/24 12:38Profile
taco
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Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 211


 Re:

Quote:
This is a big problem within the church that we get caught up on a word and debate about it and all along loose focus on winning souls. We play right into the devils hands. We loose focus on revival because we debate over simple doctrinal issues that dont way into eternity



The issue is far greater than a mere word debate. Words have meanings and the words we use reveal the intents of the heart. Leaders are to lead-God has appointed that 'older brothers' be established to this end. But it is incumbent upon all of us to follow Christ and thus encourage others to do the same. He gives us gifts and there are times for a word of instruction or correction to be spoken, there is even a time for authority to be excersised (by the ekklesia). But as Christ-ians our style of leadership should always be his style.

Don't forget he himself rebuked the disciples for seeking to emulate rulership positions which are fine in the political systems of the world but have no place in the house of God. He evidently didn't see it as a mere word game.

 2006/1/24 12:51Profile
brentw
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Joined: 2005/12/14
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Ohio

 Re:

Jesus walked this earth as a free man. He didnt get caught up on our hang ups or debates. He was FREE.
He who has ears let him hear.


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Brent

 2006/1/24 13:13Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
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 Re:

I think the points are well taken. I understand Ron (philologos) as emphasizing the need to [i]lead[/i]. Ravenhill used to say that a river will never run down any wider than its source. This is leadership leading a congregation by example. If the minister calls for something he is not walking in or willing to walk in it becomes a "do as I [i]tell[/i] you and ignore what I [i]do[/i]."

I think I understand what Barna means in that he is trying to show the Church through his stats and writings that things are in need of some serious changes. When I think of the word 'push' I am thinking in terms of working out at the gym. Give me just ONE more rep! Don't quit now, you have at least 2 more minutes on the bike or treadmill! Sort of the "no pain - no gain" mentality. In that context, I probably could couple his comments with many of Paul's teachings on Olympic analogies. Also, "Provoke one another to love and to good works... etc." (Hebrews 10:24)


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/1/24 13:42Profile





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