Top 10 Signs of Pragmatism in Ministry


Here’s a quick Top 10 list you can use to evaluate yourself and your ministry for signs of pragmatism.

  1. If you see ecclesiology as a subset of missiology, you might be a pragmatist.
  2. If you believe evangelism rather than edification is the purpose of the church, you might be a pragmatist.
  3. If you are trying to figure out what works in evangelism and church growth, and you’re using resources less than 100 years old to answer the question, you might be a pragmatist.
  4. If you turn to sociology and psychology rather than theology to help you understand human response, you might be a pragmatist.
  5. If you think the feel of your church, the music you play, and what you wear makes it more/less likely for an unbeliever to believe the gospel, you might be a pragmatist.
  6. If you are often counting your numbers (e.g., number of visitors, baptisms, and “decisions for Christ,” visitors to your website, sermon downloads, or any other countable sign of growth), you might be a pragmatist.
  7. If you feel the need to quote your numbers to establish your credibility, you might be a pragmatist.
  8. If you are more concerned with the opinions and comfort-level of unbelievers who visit your church than you are with the opinions of believers in your church, you might be a pragmatist.
  9. If your church youth program is designed to accommodate and entertain young people rather than teach and confront them, you might be a pragmatist.
  10. If the young set the tone and determine the culture of the church, you might be a pragmatist.

I know that’s a short, somewhat simplistic, and woefully incomplete list, but hey, it’s a start. If any of those points are true of you or your church, you might need to repent. Start by confessing your sin of relying on the flesh and using fleshly methods, and study the Scripture to set a positive course for your ministry.

  • Study biblical anthropology so you understand the truth about the human condition and human response (Rom. 1:18–3:18; Eph. 2:1-3).
  • Study the true purpose of the church and the pattern of church growth as laid out in Scripture (Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-16).
  • Study the ways and means of God until you see how opposite they are of the ways and means of man (1 Cor. 1:18–2:5; Jam. 3:13-18).

Learn to live by faith and not by sight; that is to say, stop counting! God’s work is largely invisible, growth takes take time, and wisdom is generally not recognized by her contemporaries, but by all her children (Luke 7:35).

HT: Travis Allen