According to Lifeway Research, 75% of pastors say they’re struggling with apathy among church members. Chad Keck, pastor of First Baptist Church Kettering, joins Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, to discuss the Greatest Needs of Pastors study and how apathy in the culture at large is impacting the church.
Ben Mandrell: Here I’m with Chad Keck today. Chad’s a trustee with Lifeway— which just makes this extra special— but a pastor in Ohio, talking to pastors today, Chad, about some of the struggles going on just with emotional health in the church. So, 75% of pastors, according Lifeway Research, are struggling with apathy in their church members.
As you look out at the landscape of what’s going on, like, how is that hitting you? How do you feel that?
Chad Keck: I think pastors are looking at their congregation because their congregation is feeling apathetic about much of life. I don’t think it’s just they’re apathetic about the church.
Ben Mandrell: Good point.
Chad Keck: I think they’re feeling apathetic about their jobs— because are we zooming today or are we coming to the office today?
Ben Mandrell: That’s really true.
Chad Keck: Are we in isolation today, or are we working today? And so it’s really easy to let that apathy set in, in all areas of our life. And then it just comes out in the church. I think church sometimes is an overflow of what’s going on in our lives. And that can happen as a pastor. If something going on at home, it’s really hard to separate that out from what’s happening in the ministry.
Ben Mandrell: Does it hurt you when you see on social media that people are out doing social events and sporting events, but they’re not coming back to church?
Chad Keck: I just refuse to let it hurt me at this point. You know, I just accept it as normal. I don’t think that that was abnormal before the pandemic. Like, yeah, they may come, but they were still doing sports.
Ben Mandrell: That’s true.
Chad Keck: So now maybe it’s one less Sunday. Maybe they were skipping two, and now they’re skipping three. I wanna work with the people who are there and who want to be there. I love everybody. I want everybody to be included. I encourage people to come, to participate, and to serve. But I think for me, if I get upset, or distracted, or broken up about somebody who’s not coming every single week, I’m going to miss the opportunities that are in front of me.
And so I just try not to let that be a crushing blow. But yeah, sure it is. I mean, everybody wants to think these people want to be here as much as I want to be here. That’s just not the world we live in.
Ben Mandrell: Yeah. Focus on the people that are there.
Chad Keck: Yeah. And the people who don’t know Christ, who are engaging, are interested. Because there’s a lot of people. I mean the flip side is that I see people now that used to be those people that never came, but are here now every week. So it’s easy to keep looking at the glass as empty— there are people who should be here but are not— and miss the people who are here that used to not be here. And so I just wanna try to keep that in balance.
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