Pastor, what might be gained were you to love that problematic elder enough to challenge the irritating and demeaning way he engages those around him?

What benefits would accrue if you were really to champion your people to a lifestyle of financial sacrifice until it becomes the norm? What do you think we in the Church are perpetuating when 60-80% of long-time church attendees give nothing in return for the services and benefits they receive? When fewer than ten percent of Church members actually tithe?

Why, I wonder, do pastors take such pride in attendance numbers when most of those we count contribute neither time nor money to the welfare of the community of faith, let alone the waiting and watching community outside our doors?

If you are in the religious education and entertainment business I can understand why you’d eschew adventure and risk, but if you’re in the people-development business, committed to make mature followers of Jesus, there’s really no other way.

Is there?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


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