Using Business Models to Hire Pastors is Bearing Ugly Fruit

THE CHURCH: I bet if we follow the world’s ideas of leadership it will work out great!

THE CHURCH 10 YEARS LATER: Huh, that’s weird, it’s not working. Welp, let’s keep at it.



Almost every week there is a news story about a pastor of a large church taking a fall. There are stories about para-church organizations that have grown big and their leaders abuse their power. There are reports of churches covering up sexual abuse and knowingly having felons lead ministry.

The news is quite depressing, especially since the world takes particular glee in reporting such things. Beating on pastors is good fun.

I, in no way, defend creepy pastors. They deserve to get punished by the law in the here and now and I believe for eternity they will receive their due for their behavior as well.

There’s even part of me that takes glee in seeing terrible pastors get caught and busted. They ought to be. Unfortunately, the mourning I feel far outweighs any gleefulness. The disastrous reputation we’ve given the church, causing the “Gentiles” to blaspheme, is a heavy weight that all pastors live under.

People view pastors with suspicion. That’s not a bad thing necessarily. Using skepticism in choosing a pastor is a good thing, it’s just too bad it takes abuse to make that a thing. Instead of being skeptical about what the pastor is teaching, now people are skeptical if the pastor can keep his hands under control and his pants zipped.

One of the main reasons there are so many pastors getting into trouble is because there are too many pastors. James gave the wise advice to not have many of you be teachers (James 3:1). Paul’s guidelines for choosing church leaders are mainly moral issues.

But today we use business models for choosing pastors and building churches. We look for degrees and track records of success. At some point in pastoral search committees someone will raise Paul’s qualifications, but it’s sort of tacked on and gets interpreted as, “Is this guy nice?”

Business is run on the Bottom Line. If profits go up then everyone is happy. It’s all about tracking the numbers. Find the techniques that make the needle move in the right direction and double down on that.

Churches have followed this model and here we are. We hire businessmen to run the business and then we’re shocked when the businessmen don’t act like godly men. You didn’t use godliness as a guideline to hire though.

Sure, in the meanwhile, before our pastor/businessmen explode in immorality, our churches appear to be doing great. We’re growing like never before, expanding our campuses, and really “making a difference.”

I’m sure at some point Christ is preached and souls might be edified. And “if it saves one soul, isn’t it worth it?” Maybe, but imagine how many would be saved if we did it right?

God used Jonah after all, but honestly, who uses Jonah as criterion for hiring missionaries? It’s possible that doing church the stupidest way possible might occasionally work, but why not go with how God told us to do it in His Word?

Churches and pastors should be held to a higher standard of conduct. It goes with the territory. If a guy can’t maintain that conduct then he shouldn’t be a pastor. Get rid of him before he destroys the church.

Church is serious stuff. This is not a Jesus themed business we’re running here. We need to stop copying the world’s ideas and stick with God’s Word. We may end up with fewer churches and fewer pastors, but something tells me that would be just fine.



Giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited
–2 Corinthians 6:3

9 thoughts on “Using Business Models to Hire Pastors is Bearing Ugly Fruit

  1. You wrote, “Why not go with how God told us to do it in His Word?”

    If we did THAT, there would be no “hiring” of so-called pastors; no filing in and out of
    so-called “churches”; no programs and projects that have nothing in common with God’s model and design, & no more endless spewing of sermons, regurgitating the same old milk to “feed” perpetual babes & false “believers”.

    The world, which has no spiritual discernment, sees “the church” as hypocritical and/or irrelevant, but we believers can’t even see it.

    How pathetic is that?


  2. Yes, amen. There’s a hierarchy we’ve created in the church that doesn’t really belong there, either. James says don’t let many of you become teachers, but Matthew 2:3 takes it even farther, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. In John 14, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”

    So pastors are supposed to be equipping the saints, feeding the sheep, making disciples. When there is a hierarchy people just get lazy, everything spiritual is now the pastor’s problem and we go to church once a week for a 20 minute lecture and call it learning. If somebody is suffering, we fill out a prayer request card and send it to the pastor.

    Rotten pastors are fully responsible for their issues, but they don’t spring up in a vacuum. There is an entire congregation, and elders, etc, that allow these things to continue because they are lazy and comfortable and they don’t want to rock the boat. The pain of sexual abuse in the church isn’t so much about one man misusing his authority, it’s about an entire social structure covering it up, and silencing victims rather then treating the patient.


    1. Everyone in the church is responsible for the sins in the church. That being said, those who put themselves up as leaders will bear the greater judgment, thus it’s mostly their fault. I’d like to pass the buck off pastors, unfortunately, not sure the Bible does that nor God. It makes me very sad.

      But pointing out the problem takes little genius at all. Being a solution is the harder part and I wish more would commit themselves to being and doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “So pastors are supposed to be equipping the saints, feeding the sheep, making disciples.”

      Yet this is precisely what they steadfastly REFUSE to do. They would lose “members”, or even worse, their JOBS.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, because we have this business model that can start to perceive other Christians as some kind of threat to our own status, to our own jobs. Even the disciples in the Bible argued about this, who shall be first?


      2. If “Pastors” aren’t willing to break free from this unbiblical framework, then who’s gonna do it? The sheep?

        I’ve tried it, as a “lay person”, on several occasions and have quickly become “unwelcome”, and accused of being divisive.

        Genuine shepherds are SUPPOSED to be seeking, knowing and following the Lord. They should be concerned only with what HE thinks… not to mention, being a shepherd was NEVER meant to be a JOB that one needed to be careful about not losing.

        Perhaps it would be better for you to truly strive to walk in the Lord’s way… and lead your “flock” therein? Instead of complaining about the funky state of the church? Anyone with any kind of perception can plainly see how funky the state of the church is.

        And don’t think I’m judging you. I happen to be a huge, apathetic, disobedient mess at this stage of my life.


      3. Geno,
        Well, your mode of writing is very combative on this issue, which i don’t think is going to help your cause. I agree with much of what you’re saying, which is why I’m a little surprised you use the tone you use.

        I have many problems with the church. I left it for several years and then figured, if I was so smart to know the problems perhaps I should try to help. So I took a small church and determined to follow God’s Word in how the church was to be run.

        I have since run it into the ground. I have been hurt massively by people I thought were my friends, people I thought cared for God’s Word. I live below the poverty line. I’ve given 20 years of my life to help one little church. I’m not saying this to brag, but to explain that I take this very seriously, to the point of personal cost.

        I’m not nailing it, I’m not getting everything right, but I’m making things a little bit better. My motivation for all of it is considering my stand before the Lord. I do not care what anyone thinks about how I’m doing my job other than Him.

        It’s fine to have a problem with the church; it’s another thing to act on those insights. My prayer is that more will take it upon themselves to serve the Lord and help His Church.


  3. It’s not my intention to be combative, at all. I apologize if I come across in that way. That probably arises out of my high level of frustration.

    I also appreciate your not slamming the door in my face, which is what most tend to do.

    I wish all the best for you.


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