(It is important that you read here before this post makes sense.)


AS THE YEARS GO BY the pastor gets a bit bored.  He is not as good at maintaining vineyards as he is building vineyards.  But the salary is good; he has terrific clout in the community. One can’t just up and walk away from that!  So he rationalizes that he must be doing God’s will or God would not be blessing him with all those benefits. 

AS HE LOSES HIS STEAM, the members of the congregation look for more exciting fields, which they find in the form of the minister down the street.  But all his congregation are not church hoppers so about seventy percent stick with him. 

AFTER  HIS PINNACLE of success he now has less than 500 people.  How can that be?  So he buys the latest books on church growth, invests in more sound equipment, bought gray carpet and painted the walls black,  enlarged the parking lot, hired another staff assistant, and added a nursery worker.  They have averaged 35 new members each year.  But they have lost more than they have gained!  The Board has managed to keep his salary up.  So he stays.  He keeps his spirit up by telling and retelling how his church grew ten-fold in just three years!

LET’S CHECK A FEW “WHAT-IFS.”  What if he had called for a period of fasting?  What if he had scheduled a prayer meeting for all the leaders of the church?  (I asked a pastor to do this one time regarding some issue that I don’t remember.  But I remember his response.  He said those people already did their work and he was not going to ask more from them.)  What if he had changed his opening of the service from “Praise and Worship” to prayers of repentance?  What if he had followed the pattern of Hezekiah’s great revival?  (2 Chron chap 29-31)  Hint: Hezekiah began by purifying the temple.  What if instead of preaching one morning, he walked to the pulpit, knelt down, and wept in prayer?  I’ve never seen that happen, but I would bet most of the congregation would have followed his example. Spectators would come next Sunday!

WHAT IF HE HAD FACED the fact that he was used by God to build churches, not to pastor them?  Maybe he should have let that young fiery preacher take the church?  I have plenty of evidence by Apostle Paul that that was his normal procedure.  But then Paul never did make much of a salary!

I’ve still got plenty to say. As of now, I plan two more posts on this subject. It is helpful to me, if you leave comments. Guide me in the right direction. Remember I am doing this, not to criticize the church, but to lead us to take responsibility for what is happening in our culture and country. The Lord reacts to the goings-on of his people, not to the evil ones. Remember 2 Chron 7:14. Also let me know if you are interested in the “revival pattern” I see in the Hezekiah story. It might be worth reworking if you are interested.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. It’s a difficult one because people leave church for all sorts of diverse reasons. However, I would say that if the leadership are listening to God, and have a vibrant relationship with God, then the congregation will pick up on that. We go to where we feel there is life ….

    • oneta hayes says:

      But “manufactured” life will never equal the presence of the Holy Spirit. I love singing; I stand awed by beautiful voices but the loud instruments drown out the voices – except for a few one can hear from the worship team. When scriptures say to shout with the sounds of trumpets, I don’t think the writer knew how loud electrical gear can be!

  2. Frank Hubeny says:

    Good points about fasting and prayers of repentance.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks, Frank. We are to lift up holy hands in worship. Mine only get holy after repentance and a “re-application” of the blood of Jesus – forsaking sin and drawing hear to him.

  3. Good subject, Oneta! I think we tend to treat our churches like a business or a corporation, when it is really supposed to be run more like a family. Many pastors become like CEO’s or celebrities, so the next promotion is always right around the corner. Then we also have the pastors who can’t ever adjust, can’t adapt to the people around them, so they and their eight remaining members are going to just stay the course.

    I also think we often forget whose church it really is. There are often a lot of egos in churches and many tend to go their to get something, not to serve.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Did you hear this story? There was a farmer who had a beautiful garden. He said, “God has blessed you with soil, sunshine, and rain. Your garden is doing so well.” The farmer replied, “Yes, but you should have seen it before I helped him!” So God needs help in his vineyard. God is capable as the CEO.

  4. capost2k says:

    Hmm, I always wondered how Paul would do applying for a church leadership job today with his resume:
    Missionary seeking part-time evangelist position for local church.
    Attended stoning of Stephen, led many Christ followers in chains, only jailed 10 or 15 times, lashed five times for insurrection with 40-1 lashes, three beatings with rods for starting riots, stoned only once for blasphemy, lots of fisticuffs’ beatings (too numerous to list), used to sleepless nights with lots of hardships, often lacking food, hyper-anxious over previous churches, weak and poor eyesight (have to dictate letters and sermon scripts)… oh and a messenger of satan torments me even though I asked God to remove him; He said “No.”
    Please send notice of acceptance letter to the prison in Rome.
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

  5. Oluwanifemi says:

    Of course I get it, the what ifs you are pointing at are things are usually neglected and considered unimportant in most churches. I am talking from personal experience as the church I attend suddenly started dwindling and we couldn’t really figure out what was wrong. Thank you so much for this, I thank God I came across you, this is exactly what we need. Thank you so much.
    Looking forward to the concluding part of this discussion

    • oneta hayes says:

      You are so kind to tell me that. I try to remember that my job is to follow God about what I should blog about, then trust him to use it to help someone. He cares enough to find a person that needs that lesson. I’m so glad you found it worthwhile. And I am glad we have made a connection. Part three is coming up tomorrow.

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