On a recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, Bob Goff sits down with ChurchPulse Weekly co-hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman to discuss the importance of authenticity and ways that pastors can focus their time and attention on what matters most.
On the Importance of Authenticity
Recent Barna data paint a picture of three primary reactions U.S. adults have towards local churches: positive (44%), negative or unfavorable (25%) and indifferent (31%).
Goff shares how churches can improve their reputation in their communities, stating, “I think a hundred percent of people like brick buildings with steeples… I just think they’re conflicted about the people that are within the brick building with the steeple.” He continues, “they want to know authenticity. … I think [if] we had a bunch of buildings with bricks around them and a steeple on top with people that are [being authentic], people would be lined up [for church].”
Goff also emphasizes the importance of being authentic over being polite. “I don’t want to have Christians be the most polite people to walk the planet. I want them to be the most authentic ones that are actually reading the room in their own light and know what’s going on inside of them… They’re not distracted by what’s going on outside of them. And they can figure out what’s their next move.”
Goff outlines questions Christians can ask as they merge authenticity into their next steps. “What am I feeling? What am I doing? What am I going to do about that?” Goff explains, “I want people of faith to be the most optimistic, forward-thinking people, because the whole premise is that we don’t need to be who we were. I want to act like that.”
On Ways to Manage Time Well
Recent Barna data show that one in three pastors (33%) say they’re not satisfied with how they spend their time during the week. Reflecting on his own experience with utilizing time well, Goff explains, “It’s that idea of showing up in the room and actually being there… you could be talking and looking at your iPhone and doing nine things at once, but you’re not actually there.”
Additionally, Goff states, “Somehow [pastors] end up being Pinocchio, and everybody has a string except them. I want to just get all those strings together. Instead of taking all my strings back, can we ask, who is pulling on my left ankle right now?” He continues, “Then, can we bring these strings to Jesus? Can you take some of the people he’s already dropped in your life that have been put adjacent to you and ask, ‘Can you help me with this?’”
Goff inquires, “Can we lose the lead pastor thing? I’ve been searching the scriptures, and I haven’t found anything that says there was one guy, the disciple Jesus loved. We don’t need to do this. I’m just like the next guy.” He concludes, “If we would eliminate some of those distinctions and say we are all servant priests who could be available equally in our own way, then we’re collecting back the strings of expectation of what everybody thinks a pastor ought to be doing.”
About the Research
Barna Cities data: The data shown above is based on a representative sample of 2,007 interviews with U.S. adults, ages 18 or older. The interviews were conducted online from April 23 to May 5, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 2.0 percent at the 95-percent confidence level.
The Resilient Pastor study: The research for this study consisted of an online study conducted September 16-October 8, 2020 with 408 U.S. Protestant pastors. The margin of error for this sample is plus or minus 4.8 percent at the 95-percent confidence level.
Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.
© Barna Group, 2022
Since 1984, Barna Group has conducted more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies and has become a go-to source for insights about faith, culture, leadership, vocation and generations. Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization.
Get Barna in your inbox
Subscribe to Barna’s free newsletters for the latest data and insights to navigate today’s most complex issues.