Pastors' Credibility Is in Question—Even Among Pastors

"Below, we’ll share data from The Resilient Pastor ... to explore current perspectives on the credibility of America’s pastors as well as insights from Packiam on pastoral trustworthiness and reliability." - Barna

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T Howard's picture

“The path to regaining credibility begins with taking responsibility. We must face the reality that we have contributed to the crisis of credibility,” observes Dr. Packiam. “Yes, there are cultural headwinds that have changed the social standing or cultural power of a pastor. But we have made a mess of things too. From small country churches to uber-megachurches, many pastors have been found to be bullies and hypocrites, alcohol abusers and womanizers. The crisis of credibility is a symptom. The misuse of authority is the root cause.”

I agree that pastors themselves are to blame for most of the crisis of credibility. What is not mentioned here, but is painfully obvious today, pastors have hurt their credibility by brushing aside or covering up abuse that has taken place in their church.

Another source of the "crisis of credibility" is that pastors hop churches every 3-5 years for a variety of reasons, but all with the seeming imprimatur of God: "God is leading us to another church." When things get difficult, it's time to find another church. You can't build trust and credibility in you or the office of pastor when you hop from church to church every 3-5 years.

Mark_Smith's picture

I have a problem with polls like this. What good is asking "are pastors and priests credible"? I know my pastor... but yours may be an idiot? I have no idea. The liberal church over there almost certainly has a fool for a pastor...and the priest, don't get me started. So what's the point?

Also, 100 years ago the pastor tended to be the most educated person in the community. Now too many pastors act like they can barely read! They talk more about hunting and hanging out than they do studying deeply into the word of God. Its atrocious out there... The largest Baptist church in my city is not "fundamentalist" or Southern Baptist or American Baptist, its an independent church started by a man 30 years ago with an associates degree from an Assembly of God college in Missouri. He preaches like it too, but his church is over 800 people in the wealthiest part of town. I attended church there for a while and while he's a nice guy, he is not theologically trained or deep, or anything I would look up to. But someone does...