In Time magazine's list of "the world's 100 most influential people" for 2010, you will find Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs and Glenn Beck. You will not find the Pope, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, or any other significant church leader.
While it is true that church leaders don't have as much influence in today's culture as they used to, when it comes to influencing the culture within a local church, nobody carries as much influence as the senior pastor. No hour of the week carries as much weight as the large group meeting of the gathered church. Usually this takes place on Sunday morning, where bulletins are given out, ushers seat people, sermons are preached, and offering plates are passed.
What the senior pastor says and does during the large weekly gathering shapes the culture of the local church like no other voice. That's why I'm convinced senior pastors hold the keys to effective worklife discipleship in the life of any local church.
Last week I mentioned a survey I did of 20 senior pastors in the Seattle area whereby I discovered many pastors are not satisfied with their effectiveness in equipping congregants to influence in the Monday-through-Friday workplace. Many of them want to do a better job in this area.
While I didn't expect to find it, I think I found a clue as to why there is such a gap between the pastor's desire to do see more results in the area of workplace discipleship, and the degree of dissatisfaction many of them feel about how effective they are in this particular arena.
The clue is this: When I asked the pastors how often they gave a Sunday morning message that "dealt primarily with the specific topic of work or work-related issues," I often heard responses like, "every Sunday."
Nearly one-third of the pastors I interviewed told me their sermons applied to "all of life," and therefore they were addressing worklife discipleship in virtually every message.
I couldn't bring myself to pop their bubbles. After all, the purpose of my interviewing was not to comment about their answers. My purpose was to hear what they were thinking.
However, since the desire of most pastors is to be more effective, I do have some thoughts to share along these lines.
To be continued.