Seven reasons some young pastors are returning to established churches

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Some years ago, I posted on “Reasons Young Leaders Shy Away from Established Churches.” Since publishing that post, though, I’ve seen more and more young leaders actually seek out established churches to lead. Here’s what they tell me when I ask about their renewed interest:

  1. Church revitalization is more acceptable now. At one time, church planting was the rage. It’s still a growing trend, but we’ve also learned that revitalization is a valid and necessary ministry. Young leaders no longer look down on that option.
  2. They see the Bible belt (where many established churches are located) as a mission field. They recognize cultural Christianity for what it is, and they know many people are still to be reached. Plateaued established churches need Gospel-centered preachers, too.
  3. They want to be part of multi-generational churches. In fact, they long to have older people in their church. They want older heroes to look up to, and those heroes are tough to find in many newer churches.
  4. They’ve seen some church planting failures. When you see some of your friends really struggle with the hard work of church planting, the established church can look more inviting. At least you’re not starting from scratch in the latter case.
  5. Some have a desire to return to more traditional worship. They don’t want to go back to bad worship (of any style), but some young pastors appreciate a more liturgical style with Bible readings and God-centered hymns. They’re not interested in anything that’s superficial.
  6. Their heroes often encourage them to be open to an established church. Young leaders have their preferences, but many are also quite willing to listen to their mentors and pastors who push them toward the established church. At a minimum, they’ll at least pray about the possibility.
  7. Established churches often offer the jobs. This reason’s a pragmatic one, but it’s nevertheless a real one. You’ll broaden your job search when you’re paying bills and supporting a family.

Young pastors, what would you add?

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