Pastors: How About Less Inspiration And More Reality
The last 30 years of church history could be called the “inspiration” decades. It’s been a period where pastors were more likely to be inspirational speakers than prophetic voices. And I get it. Most people are beat up from life, they feel unworthy, and need to be encouraged. But the truth is, the Bible isn’t exactly the most inspirational book ever written. The Bible is focused more on reality, and in the New Testament, Jesus tells it like it is.
When I mentioned this fact recently, a friend said, “But what about how Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery? The religious leaders were going to stone her and Jesus had compassion.” Bravo. Yes, he probably saved her life, but then He didn’t empathize about her problems, encourage her to try harder, or become the best she could be. Instead, he said quite directly, “Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus didn’t condemn, but he also didn’t cut her any slack. She had made mistakes, and it was time to get serious. I think we worry so much about being “relevant,” not hurting feelings, or turning off our contemporary audiences, that we’re not giving them the one thing they need the most – reality. Today we live in the most distracted and disrupted culture in history, and when someone visits your church, they don’t have a lot of time to waste.
Let’s not go overboard and be a jerk. Let’s be inviting, responsive, and sensitive. But perhaps more important, let’s cut to the chase.
The age of pastor as motivational speaker should be over.
What do you think about the issue?
I’m currently cranking a handcycle through the southwest to share a message of hope and help feed hungry kids. People keep telling me they’re inspired. I’m glad, but my question: Inspired to do…what? It can’t be all about a feel-good-fest, because that’s not what following Jesus means.
The Gospel means “Good news” and by this mere statement it can be seen that it is very important to be inspirational. after all our message is about Jesus who loved us to the point of death. now that’s inspiring. I also agree that we need to incorporate the prophetic, with clear Biblical studies, even the great themes of the Bible. I give revelation seminars and I preach and I use inspiration in conjunction with the other methods and it works great. just remember. there is some rules that can make you fail.
I. if you say the Bible contradicts itself you loose your audience and your credibility, since the Bible never contradict itself
2. Make sure you have verses to back up what you say and use them in context.
3. Spend time on exegesis and study the Bible for yourself before you run into someone who disproves you and it happens, some have some bizarre teachings.
4. If you need some insightful and very well prepared studies lessons, etc.. you should definitely look at bible info.com. this is a good source for refuting false teaching since it uses the bible a its Guide.
and this is crucial
inspiring people has all to do with inspiring them to follow Jesus, receiving eternal life and becoming babtized born again Christion in order to obtain everlasting life, but its more than that, its about meeting Jesus, meeting the person that loved you so that He didn’t mind to go through hell and back to buy your redemption. he is building a mansion for us if we would merely accept this gift and remember to keep on asking. God save me, God lead me, God show me the truth, show me what to do to inherit eternal life and when someone accepts this message or even before, inspiration, proclaiming the Love of God is the ultimate inspiration
I think the days of the seeker friendly churches that seek to entertain the flock is over.
And you just spoke prophetically. Nothing like leading by example.
I agree because motivational speakers are a dime a dozen. You can turn on the Oprah Winfrey network and hear them every sunday morning. I am tired of hearing preachers tell me how I can feel good, I want to know what God is saying in this time and place.
Pastors who are afraid to speak what God placed in their hearts are like people who are afraid to give to the kingdom; the issue is insecurity. “If I don’t make em feel nice and fuzzy, maybe my church won’t grow” pastors are people too I guess
I don’t think it’s either / or. I think we need to meet people where they’re at with solid biblical truth, but it has to come through a vessel. The demeanor of the vessel is up to us. To present God as anything less than inspiration is to misrepresent him. Some people make him appear boring. Or worse – pathologically angry. How about truth presented clearly, joyfully and powerfully encouraging people that that faith changes things, if not always circumstances then at least themselves from the inside out. I find that inspirational.
I think the misperception pastors have is that prophetic ministry and the hope message are mutually exclusive. Even confrontational prophetic, when given in the spirit of the new covenant, produces a living hope.
I think a lot of pastors have a hard time getting over the harshness of prophetic people who don’t understand the operation of grace in the new covenant, so they stay a safe distance.
This is an example of how success principles can produce big results, but not really have a lasting impact. The last 30 years or so of ministry have not really had a lasting impact or change on the people. We’ve become a people that want an experience then go to the word to find how it fits; instead of being a people of the word and seeing how the experience confirms what He is speaking.
God is looking for the Jacob Generation-those that will seek His face and come up to His holy mountain. To get to that place we need to change, be conformed and dare I say it–walk in holiness!
ONLY AMEN Phil! What the body needs most times will NOT be found in church on Sunday mornings…
I’ve discovered over many years that the church is not an “educational institution.”
The pastors are generally NOT our teacher… Saints that think going to church on Sunday is so we can “learn about God,” are going to have a kindergarten education after 30 years!
Completely agree! The church is called to be the moral conscious of the nation not the Sunday morning version of Dr Phil.
This is has already spurred a lot of discussion and a variety of views. I think the article has a valid point and that is encouragement alone will not help people to grow spiritually in Christ. I’m a proponent of what I call the ‘grace and truth’ approach and actually use the passage referenced in the article as a stellar example of it’s operation. Jesus handled the woman with great grace, did not add to the public shame she was already experiencing, rescued her from her accusers and then He lovingly gave her the truth that would call her to change. Pastors are called to preach motivationally at times and they must encourage but if in doing so they are omitting truth then it will fall short of being transformational as was the preaching of Christ and His apostles.
Will the creative minds in media make the motivational pastors, look more real ? TV has as much to.do with this, as the lack of.substance they preach.