Leadership#6. “A.W.O.L.”

Leadership#6. “A.W.O.L.”

I saw a church survey that stated that in the average congregation, “10% of its members cannot be found.” Now, if that isn’t bad enough, it also stated that “20% of its members never as much as attend a church service.” However, since these statistics are from 1999, they probably reflect better days.

These, of course, are the easy statistics. Tabulate the number of members who come and go from one congregation to another, and worse, one church to another, and an alarming picture appears. Previously, if you wanted to be taken seriously, you had to be a regular member of a particular congregation.

However, my concern here is with the ‘accepted’ church leaders. In recent years I have heard about more than one congregation that think nothing of their leaders ‘turning up when they want to.’ One would pray that these are isolated cases, but given the high tolerance for church truancy in many congregations, it might be more prevalent than suspected.

Once upon a time it would have been ridiculous to suggest that a spiritual leader would be anywhere other than where the saints were meeting—but here we are!

I fear that someday in the future someone will read this and think that I am exaggerating. Indeed, I wish I was exaggerating. But since we are living in a time where ‘worship’ is confined to 54-minute Sunday morning experience, my fear is that I am instead understating things.

To all of you church leaders who have always been there for us, thank you. You who have been the first to arrive and the last to leave, have picked up so many members and visitors for church that you couldn’t name them all if you tried, and have had generations of families in your homes—Bless you!

I know these leaders and I know Jesus does too. They have always been doing his work, and furthermore, they wouldn’t even know how to be A.W.O.L.

John Staiger


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