Characteristics Most Associated with Unsuccessful Pastors

Orginally published on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 7:21 AM by Todd Rhoades @ Monday Morning Insight

OK… small sample size, but VERY interesting results. What are the characteristics most associated with both successful and unsuccessful pastors? Todd Hunter shares his findings from talking to both pastors of successful, growing churches, and pastors of churches that failed…

The inability to identify, recruit, train, and deploy workers and leaders. (95%)

Use of ineffective methods of evangelism, and unwillingness to be ruthless at evaluating the results of those methods. (77%)

No clear plan and goals, which results in working hard at wrong things or lack of focus. (77%)

No proven record under supervision or authority. (73%)

A nurturer/ enabler/ facilitator rather than an assertive leader and equipper. (68%)

Failed to adequately research and understand the community in which trying to build a church. (64%)

No local or extra-local support and encouragement from other leader. (64%)

Unsure about the Holy Spirit’s leading for the church. (59%)

Not willing to take responsibility for church growth. (55%)

Success for failure of church tied to self-image; ego strength problems. (55%)

Unsure of call. (50%)

* Results based on telephone interviews of 22 pastors whose churches had failed. The interviewer, Todd Hunter, had supervised or known the pastors, and could in most instances agree with their evaluation. The numbers in parentheses are the percent who had this problem.

Characteristics Most Associated with Successful Pastors

A hard worker. (100%)

Proven record under supervision or authority. (95%)

Sure of call. (95%)

An attitude of optimism and faith. (95%)

Good social skills, friendly, easily liked. (95%)

Takes responsibility for church growth. (95%)

Both husband and wife felt called to the church. (90%)

Held values, priorities, and philosophy of denomination. (90%)

Indigenous of extra-local support from other leaders. (80%)

A strong marriage. (80%)

* Results based on telephone interviews of 20 pastors of successful, growing churches. In many instances they had raised up several churches. The numbers in parentheses are the percent who had this strength.

SOURCE:  Global South

FOR DISCUSSION: What do you think?  In your experience (yourself and other leaders you know), does this flesh out with what you’ve seen?  What would you add or subtract from the list?

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One thought on “Characteristics Most Associated with Unsuccessful Pastors

  1. Hhhmmm….. I guess the big question is what is meant by successful and unsuccessful?
    I’d want some more unpacking of what some of his points mean really. Some seem to be good and make sense such as support of other leaders, both spouses being in agreement about being at the church, hard worker, and proven work under supervision.
    I’m not sure about some of them, however, some seem to be based upon ideas of leadership rather than looking at what the Bble says. For example his idea that unsuccessful leaders are nurturers/enablers/facilitators not assertive leaders or equippers – where does scripture call for assertive leaders and aren’t leaders meant to be shepherds who deal gently with people?
    What does he mean by takes responsibility for church growth and how does that square with Paul’s comment that he planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase?
    I find the whole idea of feeling called to be an interesting idea. I struggle to see anything much beyond the call of God through the work of the Spirit to be his when reading the NT but we seem to have it as quite a high expectation for pastors. I battle with this one in my own thinkig and praying about where to be and what to do an dwonder if I shouldn’t.
    What is an attitude of optimism? Where does that come from in the scriptural idea of a pastor?
    That’s the kind of thing I’d want to know more about what he means. Excuse the long comment.

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