Why We Should Pray for Young Pastors

I love young pastors. They’re some of the most creative, passionate, committed people I know. I do fear for them, though. Here’s why:

  1. Many have had no older mentors in their life. No older believers have taken them under their wing, loved them, and led them. Too many young pastors are learning ministry on their own.
  2. They’re leading in a culture that is increasingly accepting of sin. Had you projected the sin issues we face today when I began ministry 35+ years ago, I probably would have laughed at you. Now I weep.
  3. The internet brings sin options to them. In my day, we had to sneak around to buy our pornography. Now, it sometimes shows up in our inboxes.
  4. Many come from broken homes. That means they’re teaching about being godly, healthy, God-centered, committed families when they’ve never been part of one themselves.
  5. Their only heroes are Internet-based. It’s great to have heroes from afar, but most of us need gospel heroes who stand in front of us and look us in the eye.
  6. They sometimes fear leading a church. Frankly, they’ve seen too much infighting congregations. A healthy respect for the deep responsibility of leading God’s people is right; a fear that hinders their leadership is not.
  7. They’re walking into inwardly-focused churches. By sheer numbers, most young pastors will step into congregations with a track record of little growth. What seemed so exciting and challenging at first can quickly become defeating.
  8. Many don’t know how to pray. No one’s taught them how, and they have no prayer warrior role models. Instead, it doesn’t take them long to begin doing ministry in their own power.
  9. They take for granted their access to the Bible. Most of us do, actually. We’ve forgotten that much of the world has no access to the Word.
  10. They’re entering a profession too often marked by competition, jealousy, and kingdom-building. They don’t have to look far to see the ungodliness of church leaders striving for recognition and platform space. And, it doesn’t take long for zealous, talented pastors to fall into the same trap.

I fear for young pastors, but I don’t let the fear trump my belief in them. In fact, my concerns only make me pray more for them. Would you take a minute and pray for a young pastor you know?

POSTED ON November 29, 2017

Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Vice-President for Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. Dr. Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches prior to joining the Southern Seminary faculty in 1996.  He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals.  He and his wife Pam have been married for 23 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.