“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  — Joshua 24:15

A new report from the Barna Group found that even though a majority of American pastors — nine out of ten — believe that a large part of their role is to point Christians to biblical teachings concerning specific “hot-button” issues, they struggle on how to address these issues. The report states, “They are not only afraid of offending some in their congregation, but also pressured by others to speak up on those very same topics. These hot-button issues … related to the LGBT community, same-sex marriage rights, abortion, sexual morality and politics” (Barna, January 29, 2019). In other words, they feel that they are “doomed if they do, doomed if they don’t” address the issue. There is too much pressure for many pastors to “do the right thing.” 

At the end of Joshua’s life, he gathers all of Israel and exhorts them to either choose God or their idols (Joshua 24:15). From the beginning, God challenged Joshua to trust in Him and take courage in leading. Joshua not only needed courage to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land, but also to exhort his people to serve God and obey His voice. The Barna study concludes, “Pastors must be committed for the long haul, educating and equipping their people to respond with love and conviction, in word and deed. This, after all, is the essence of discipleship.” The Well Church, as many are being influenced by social media, we need pastors to take courage and humbly lead God’s people with love and humility, not buckling to the pressures of people. Would you pray for your pastor today? Pray that I will take heart God’s command:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
 — Joshua 1:9