Church leaders often find themselves in a bitter and lonely place. When I stepped into ministry leadership, I feared the high and even unrealistic expectations people would place on both me and my family. I had been through an intense personal struggle to understand and finally accept God’s call upon my life. As a pastor’s kid, I had in-house experience of how people can be so insensitive to the love and care of the shepherd who God has placed in their lives.
Of all the places I have been, the Amazon jungle is definitely the most interesting and exotic destination. There is a tremendous variety of animals and plants, many of which I had never even known existed. As we were walking by a small tree with some beautiful fruit that looked like apples, I asked the tour guide if I could pluck one and eat it. To which he replied, “Don’t be fooled by the beauty of that fruit, because it disguises death. One bite of that fruit could kill you.”
Recent surveys on the spiritual landscape in North America reveal both good and bad news. The good news is that the situation for churches is not as bleak as some people thought it would be. The bad news is that there are a lot churches out there that are struggling.