I love my work. I get to help churches grow. Over the years I’ve become aware of just how different church environments are from any other work environment.
Lately, it seems churches have become really good at developing high-quality work environments. In fact, some of you are working in your city’s “best places to work.”
For the rest of us, things might be a little bit different.
1. We’re Fat.
58 million overweight; 40 million obese; 3 million morbidly obese.
Eight out of 10 over-25s overweight.
When we wake up in the morning, we don’t see what God created. We see something less than … and we’re using a scale with a number on it to quantify our real worth.
The obesity cycle looks just like the cycle of sin. See something, take something, hide and repeat.
If we don’t feel good about what we see in the mirror, how likely are we to share with others the One who created what we see in the mirror?
2. We’re in Debt.
More than 40 percent of U.S. families spend more than they earn.
Americans carry, on average, $8,400 in credit card debt.
The solution to this problem isn’t talking less about money … it’s talking more about how freedom feels when you treat your money the way God instructed us. If you teach on this with our best interest in mind, you can’t lose.
3. We Hate Our Jobs.
Employee surveys show that more than 65 percent of workers are not satisfied with their job.
These numbers are consistent over a wide variety of professions, and the studies were performed with massive amounts of people to validate the results. Most people don’t ever get the opportunity to know their work changed eternity for someone.
4. We Have Tension.
Whether we’re a school teacher or a CEO, we come to work, day in day out, with an objective in mind we have to accomplish or our job is at risk.
The tension is always there and we’ve learned to live with it, maybe even forget it’s there from time to time.
But make no mistake, we are all in performance-based jobs. Fail to perform at the minimum required level and someone else is waiting to fill our spot.
And that’s what many of us do, perform at the minimum acceptable level to keep from losing our job. There is no passion!
We Pay Taxes.
Between state and federal income tax, as well as property taxes, the effective tax rate for middle America is somewhere between 11.5 percent and 15 percent.
The reason I mention this is, with the deductions clergy receive for mortgage interest expense, along with being able to receive a significant portion of your salary in the form of a housing expense, a pastor’s income of $85,000 looks a lot different from that same salary for one of your members.
I think that’s an important distinction to make when you compare your giving as a pastor to “their” giving as members. Particularly in the “tithing before or after taxes” debate.
6. Our Marriages Stink.
After 10 years of marriage, it is predicted that only 25 percent of couples will still be happily married (Glenn,1996).
This stat should enrage you! My wife is the primary opportunity I have to love God.
If only 25 percent of us are “happy,” what does that say about our relationship with the One who created us? If we aren’t “happy” with our marriage, there is no chance we’re growing spiritually.
You got into ministry to help people grow in their relationship with Christ, right?
So here’s why I’m on my soapbox this morning: We’re dying a slow death, and I don’t think you’re fully aware of it. No, this list doesn’t represent everyone in your church, but these are real stats for average Americans. So they do represent the majority of people in your congregation.
Wouldn’t it be wise to consider this information as you prepare this weekend’s message?
Most of us don’t give many people permission to speak into our lives, but we’ve given it to you.
You have a unique opportunity to be used by God to inspire us to have:
- Better marriages
- Be more generous (and pay less taxes) – “Generosity is the cure for materialism.” – me
- Make our work about reaching people, which will skyrocket our job satisfaction
- Treat our bodies as God’s temple
If we’re showing up to your church, we’re giving you permission to influence change in our lives.
What will you do with it?
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” John C. Maxwell
A Unique Opportunity to Grow Your Church (and Letting My Team Help)
If your church is declining (or not growing at the rate you would like) you are not alone …
Of course you’re never really alone – God is always with you.
But sometimes, when you look out at your sanctuary and not many faces are looking back at you it’s easy to feel like you’re failing.
The sad thing is that this trend is becoming more and more common.
All across America the last 40 years has been marked by a steady decline in the amount of people regularly coming to church.
Pastors everywhere are struggling……
Which means you’ve got less resources…….
Which means you’re reaching even fewer people.
Don’t let this be you. For the past five years, I have partnered with Jerry Lawson of 24toDouble …
Check it out for yourself.