About the Book
Data, research, and stories about American pastoral decline.
Nine of ten ministers know three to four others who’ve been forced out of pastoral positions; a third of all pastors serve congregations who either fired the previous minister or actively forced their resignation; and at any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. American church decline has reached epidemic proportions and in the last century, church influence has waned nearly 60% with pastoral attrition being either an indicator of that problem, a central part of it. Why Your Pastor Left is full of detailed statistics and identifies the top ten “Ministry Killers” that cause pastoral stress and eventual “burnout.”
David Fisher’s book, 21st Century Pastor, quotes one of my favorite writers, George Hunter, who addresses the problem of Christian decline in our culture. “The result of culture quakes and shakes is an increasingly unchristian America. George Hunter claims that 120 million Americans are virtually secular. They have no Christian influence, no Christian memory or vocabulary, and no Christian assumptions or worldview. Hunter believes America is actually the largest mission field in the Western world, noting that the percentage of practicing evangelical Christians in Uganda, once a Western mission field, is higher than in America.”
Western culture is independent-minded. We so value personal freedom that, very often, we refuse to follow the leadership of any other. Personally, I grew up as a part of what I call the “Walt Disney Generation.” We WDGs were told that anything they wanted to do was possible; all you needed was positive thinking. You want to be the next president, princess, or rags-to-riches hero? Perfect, just believe in yourself. WDGs also got the soft end of the stick when it came to self-esteem. School programs were designed to boost a child’s ego, even in the face of abject reality. Programs, counselors, books, teachers, and parents all informed us we were great at everything, even when we weren’t made for those things. That’s why we see a row of petite little girls in ballerina uniforms plié during a Swan Lake recital, and there’s a fat kid in the back trying to keep up. (Please don’t think I’m attacking anyone—I was a fat kid as a child, I’ve been there and suffered through that before I got comfortable with who I was in my own skin.) The thing is, God built us all to excel at different things, be they physical or mental, we all have niches of skill, and we all have limitations. The Ugly Duckling story doesn’t tell us we all can be the best at the same thing, but that we are beautiful in our different ways when we accept ourselves for who we are.
WDGs are raised to disbelieve in the limitations; this was a contributing factor to the eventual destruction of absolute truth and the rise of post-modern thinking that has occurred in recent decades. WDG thinking gave us a generation that believes each person deserves to sit in the Oval Office or in some lofty executive chair. Those spaces, however, are limited, and ignoring the reality of that only encourages rebellion against authority and discontent within any assembly, be they secular or religious. The WDG mindset is still encouraged today through a variety of media.
About the Author
Christopher D Schmitz is an author of fiction and nonfiction as well as a regular blogger. As a veteran youth worker who works with “at risk teens,” he has been with Youth For Christ since 2012.
Earlier works: following completion of his first fantasy novel, he began to work on lots of short fiction in order to refine his craft and went on to publish many pieces from 1,000-15,000 words in a variety of genres as writing exercises. Putting fiction away for a while, he pursued post-graduate work where he received a new appreciation for nonfiction, and then returned to his love for fiction after that, churning out more novel-length stories at much improved rates.
Education: Schmitz attained a Biblical Studies degree and a Youth Ministry minor from Trinity Bible College in 2003 and went on to gain a Masters of Arts in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2014.
Other: he is generally known as a decent guitarist and played/sang in a rock band for several years. Schmitz is also a bagpipe player and has been known to pop up in random places and play them. You can find him at his website Inside the Inkwell.
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