According to Lifeway Research, 66% of pastors indicate they need to focus on trusting God. Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church O’Fallon Illinois, joins Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, to discuss the Greatest Needs of Pastors study and how trusting in God is better than seeking the applause of people.
Ben Mandrell: Two-thirds of pastors— this one really struck me, really made me think—two-thirds of pastors surveyed (66%) say they are struggling to trust God.
Doug Munton: Wow.
Ben Mandrell: Do you think some of that has to do with just smaller crowds, smaller rooms—their faith has shrunk along with the crowd?
Doug Munton: Boy, let me tell you… if you are doing ministry for anything other than for the glory of God, ultimately you’re going to have some struggles. There are times when it’s really good and really personally satisfying. And there are times when it’s tough, and there are times when people are coming in and they’re all happy and great applaud you. And there are times when they’re leaving and frustrated with you. And if you do it for God, if you’re doing it for His glory, you can make it through that. But boy, the moment you do it for the applause of man, you’re in danger of being one of those 66%.
And listen, I’ve been there too. I think I want to perform for people. I want to please people. I want people to be happy with me. That’s not in and of a self bad, but shouldn’t I really want the Lord to be pleased with me and really do it for His glory? And if I get that right, it sure helps with this concept.
Ben Mandrell: That’s really profound because I think it’s easy to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
Doug Munton: Really easy.
Ben Mandrell: And to be a pastor, you can use people to get what you want rather than love people.
Doug Munton: It’s fulfilling to us to have people say, “Good sermon,” which by the way, they’re going to say “Good sermon” no matter how bad it is, you know it?
Ben Mandrell: Do you know what’s humbling about that? They tell the guy right after you, and you thought the sermon was terrible.
Doug Munton: Yeah, exactly, man. Sometimes it’s so bad, I know it was bad. So you do it for the applause of people, and they will applaud you sometimes, but they’re not always going to applaud. There’s this concept of saying, “I’m going to do it for the applause of One.” And that’s what matters.
Ben Mandrell: And someday when you’re an old man on your deathbed, you’re not going to say, “Oh, I wish more people had applauded me.” But man, what you did for the Lord and for His glory is going to matter. Certainly, the day after your last day on earth, what’s going to matter is what you’ve done for God and for His glory. So, it’d be good for me to think that way now and kind of get that perspective. It’ll help me to be on the right track.
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