Thom S. Rainer

Christian Post Contributor

4 Steps Forward for the Very Sick Church

Where is the hope in God? Do I not believe He can perform the miracles necessary to reverse the courses of these churches? Of course I do. But in Scripture, God usually works with a willing people, at least a willing leader. When He delivered the Jews from the bondage of Egypt, he had a leader named Moses. That leader was initially reluctant, but eventually He obeyed and the people followed.

Very Sick Churches

I like to be a bearer of good news. I like to be able to be positive about situations, especially when those situations involve churches. At the same time, I refuse to deny reality. Such denial can only lead to a worsened condition. Churches typically do not move from good health to dying overnight. It is usually a more subtle deterioration. I have identified five simple stages:

Thank You Pastor's Wife

Thank you pastor's wife. You may have one of the most selfless roles in the world. You are expected to be at the beck and call of church members, regardless of your own schedule. You are expected to adjust your life to the life of the pastor, who just happens to be your husband. You really have no independent life of your own.

5 Questions to Ask to See If Your Church Is Dying

Please forgive me for the morbid and depressing title and content. I don't think posts such as these encourage many of you. I guess the impetus for writing such an article is the work I am doing to finish my next book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church. I have dealt a lot with the death of churches in my research and writing for that book.

10 Traits of Joyous Pastors

I recently wrote the names of 23 pastors that, at least from my perspective, seem to find the greatest joy in their ministries. While such an exercise is admittedly subjective, it was nevertheless enlightening and encouraging.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Church Staff Meetings

I confess. I used to hate meetings. In fact I was very vocal about meetings being a waste of time. In most meetings I attended, I daydreamed about a dozen other ways I could be spending my time more productively. Over time I would discover the problem was not the meeting per se, but the way the meeting was managed.

10 of the Most Common Questions Asked by Pastors

I wish I could respond to every phone call, email, text, Facebook post, Twitter direct message, blogpost comment, and several other forms of communication I receive. Pastors ask me questions, lots of questions. I am both honored and humbled that they would think that I could be a source of information or expertise.

5 Stages of a Pastor's Ministry

For more than two decades I have studied, contemplated, and written about the tenure of a pastor. Why is pastoral tenure relatively brief on the average? Does that tenure contain common and distinct stages? Is there a particular point in the tenure when more pastors leave the church?

7 Responses to Prevent Pastor Burnout

In my recent blog post, I noted seven reasons pastors burn out. I was delighted to receive a full response to my post from Lee Haley, executive pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I offer his response in full below: With over 40 years in the ministry, nearly 15 in an itinerant ministry, I have seen the challenges of many pastors who burn out. I offer the following seven responses for churches to consider:

7 Reasons Pastors Burn Out

I admit I haven't seen recent statistics on pastoral burnout but, at least anecdotally, it's high. It seems that hardly a week goes by that I don't hear another story of a burnout victim in pastoral ministry. Why?

Henry Blackaby and the Positive Power of Social Media

We would soon learn that Dr. Blackaby had a heart attack and became disoriented. Christians around the world were able to hear through social media of his latest purported location according to his credit card charges. Of course, we were praying that he was the one actually using the credit cards—and he was.

8 Types of Power Groups in Churches

This topic will cause some discomfort for many of you. The very thought of the presence of power groups seems contrary to the spirit and grace of the gospel. But power groups are very real in churches.

7 Tips for Introverted Pastors

I have made no secret of my introversion. In fact, being open and honest about it has been a great relief to me. I think a number of people understand me better. One gift I wish I had been given when I served as a pastor in four different churches was a mentor who would share with me how to function as an introverted pastor. I made a ton of mistakes! I hope my experiences, both bad and good, will prove to be meaningful to pastors today. I have written them in the form of seven tips.

Three Changing Trends in American Churches

The three trends I've recently noticed are not new. What is new is that a relatively few churches embraced these concepts a few years ago. Today, they are becoming normative. These three approaches have moved from the category of "exception" to the category of "mainstream."

How Pastors Should Leave a Difficult Church

In a recent post, we heard from Chris Bonts as he shared the painful story of his difficult church. Today we conclude the conversation as Chris tells us how to leave a difficult church. As a reminder, this story is very personal for Chris. He experienced these pains to the point that he was pressured to leave the church.

How Pastors Survive a Difficult Church

There are great rewards in the pastoral call. And there are times that there is great pain. In this post I have asked Chris Bonts to share his experiences in a difficult church, one where he eventually left under pressure. I encourage you to get his newly-released eBook on this topic.

Confessions of a Broken Pastor's Wife

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about pastors' wives, and what they wish they had known before they became a pastor's wife. The article struck a nerve. Much to my surprise, I discovered a depth and breadth of hurt of which I was unaware. I was ashamed I had been so oblivious to this pain.

Ten Things Pastors Like Most about Their Jobs

In today's post, I look at the positive side of being a pastor. Most of these leaders love their work and the churches they serve. So I took to the Twitterverse again with my poll question asking pastors what they like most about their work. Here are their top ten responses.

Ten Things Pastors Like Least About Their Jobs

Let me state the obvious: Pastors are humans. That means they have preferences, likes, and dislikes. So I did an unscientific Twitter poll to find out what pastors really don't like about their jobs. By the way, one pastor cautioned me about calling their ministries "jobs." I understand, but it's hard to fit "God-called vocation and ministry" into a 140-character Twitter question.