Today’s Pastors. By George Barna. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993. 169 pp. Cloth, $15.99.
George Barna is not a pastor. How, then, can he write a book about pastors and designed for pastors? The answer is because George Barna is not a pastor. The best way to arrive at unbiased, objective conclusions is to distance oneself from the subject under examination. This Barna has done with great skill and proficiency. Today’s Pastors is a book of invaluable scientific data. In compiling his information, the author surveyed more than 1,000 senior pastors throughout the country. His findings are based on scientific standards of research. In fact, the Barna Institutespecializes in Christian and church-related studies.
In his latest work, the author takes the pulse of America’s pulpits. He answers the question: “Are today’s pastors in hot water?” The sobering reality, based on Barna’s research, is yes. For instance, only 41% of pastors believe that since entering the pastoral ministry their passion for ministry has increased. Forty-nine percent feel that pastoring has been difficult on their families. “Building meaningful relationships” rated last in a list of the primary joys of pastoring. Finally, almost 20% of pastors rate themselves as “poor” in the area of personal evangelism. These are just a few of the revealing statistics regarding today’s pastors.
This is not a theological book. It is not the author’s intention to judge whether certain trends in today’s pulpits are right or wrong. His goal is simply to present the results of his research, draw conclusions based on those results, and then make a few suggestions. At a time when Christian bookstores are overflowing with self-help books and manuals for effective ministry, Today’s Pastors is a welcome relief. As a pastor, I highly recommend this book, not only to my fellow pastors, but to any believer interested in learning more about the heartbeat of the preacher.
J. B. Hixson
Tremont Baptist Church