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Pastor not superhero to save church
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
March 22, 2010
4 MIN READ TIME

Pastor not superhero to save church

Pastor not superhero to save church
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
March 22, 2010

Michael Ester sees more

church closings in the future “because the landscape is changing, and churches

that fail to make some fundamental changes are dying.”

Ester, who is associational

missionary for Liberty Baptist Association, said most churches are fooling

themselves.

“Most of them know that

they’re not growing but they don’t consider themselves as dying,” he said.

“They don’t seem concerned

about it as long as it doesn’t affect the money.”

He knows change does not

come easy.

“I hate if for these

churches because it is a traumatic experience,” he said.

Trinity Baptist Church in

Welcome, which was formed in 1981, recently disbanded.

Ester said he’s working with

another church now “but someone has thrown a wrench in it.”

For some it is hard to give

up power, but they do see the loss.

In the 1950s Ester said one

man might lead two or three churches.

The multi-bivocational

pastor might be leading the way into the future, he said.

Trinity gave its building

and assets to another church in the association.

“Most of them want to hang

on,” said Ester, who celebrates his 10th anniversary at the association next

month. “They are avoiding the inevitable. It’s going to come down to there’s

six people in the pew.”

For those who grew up in

that church and hung on all these years, it is hard to admit the problem.

“Our current buildings have

been paid for by previous generations,” said Ester. “I think there’s a lot of

churches right on the edge … where they have only a little money left.”

They might have $60,000 in

the bank and between 10-20 people in the pews. Many think if they can pay for a

preacher and lights they are set. “The problem is they are still in a hole,”

said Ester.

That church has no Sunday

School leaders, no children’s programs, no music leader.

“What’s their choice?” Ester

said. “A preacher is not going to be the hero and suddenly you’ve got people.

There’s nobody that dynamic.

“If he’s that dynamic he’s

going to a bigger church.”

Ester said this is a growing

trend.

“These new church starts,

they don’t really realize how much money it takes,” he said.

With property and buildings

costs easily skyrocket into the millions.

“They think they can do it

themselves,” he said.

“I’ve seen churches that are

dying and so they have this mentality that they need a young man whose

inexperienced to be a pastor of people who are not there.”

Hiring a pastor to attract

young people sends a bad message to the congregation that might be over 50.

“They are setting themselves

up for a church fight or disappointment,” he said.

“(The pastor’s) not the

magic bullet. They are going to have to sit down and think about their vision.”

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