Pastors in North America face at least three significant challenges at the present time:
Challenge #1 – The rapidly shifting landscape of the western church
At the local level, many congregations are facing the prospect of shrinking membership, aging buildings, and fewer resources from denominations, associations, and other governing bodies. Pastors of such churches face daunting leadership challenges for which they are all too often ill prepared, resulting in discouragement and burnout.
Challenge #2 – Faithfully evaluating and implementing ministry practices within local context
Assessing an array of strategic options and implementing the right ones for a particular congregational context requires considerable skills. Seminaries do a fine job of providing foundational theological education, but for the most part, are unable to provide adequate on-the-job training and equipping for ministry. Some pastors can navigate these waters successfully, but many stand in need of resources and training.
Challenge # 3 – The seemingly inevitable isolation that comes with pastoral ministry
This isolation derives from the complicated nature of a pastor-parishioner relationship, but also from the lack of relationship among clergy, even clergy within the same community. The demands of day-to-day parish ministry make it difficult for clergy to find time to build healthy, fruitful partnerships with one another.