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What are the challenges of pastoring in the urban context?

In this 'Answers to Equip Indian Churches' video, Brother Stephen David helps answer the question "What are the challenges of pastoring in the urban context?"

There are quite a few challenges to pastor a church in an urban culture, and I'm so privileged to be a pastor of the church in the city. And at the same time, I admit that it is not easy to pastor a church in the city.

One big challenge that I see is the social status that people carry into the church, where they want to associate only with the same status people and ignore the people of low social status, it's a big challenge to unite them together and live as a supernatural community bought by the blood of Christ.

And the other challenge that I see is people are very busy in the city culture. They have long hours of jobs and family to take care of. It's difficult for them to gather during the week and also to gather as a church regularly every Sunday. So busyness is one of the big challenges that we face in the city.

And also, I see that a lot of people don't have a serious covenanted relationship with the church. They want to be a part of a church where there is low commitment, no need to make a covenant, so that they can just appear on Sunday and be a part of the service and just leave without seriously hearing the word and devoting themselves to fellowshipping and loving the church. So, this low commitment is something that I really struggle with in pastoring the church in the city.

And also, people are so materialistic, given to prosperity. Even when people deny the prosperity gospel in practice, people love prosperity. The commitment they show in their jobs to make money, they don't want to show that in the church because they don't make money. So, practically there are a lot of proponents of prosperity gospel [who are] believers in the churches. And it's a great challenge to pastor those people to show that devotion to the Lord and to the church as they are in the pursuit of making money in their career and seeking promotion.

And one big challenge that I see that is greatly prevalent in the city culture is this individualism. Expressive individualism, where [they are] so self-absorbed and want to think only about themselves, their comforts, and their family, and their future. And not really seriously thinking about the cost of discipleship that the Lord Jesus said about denying self, which is denying your individualism, self-centered lifestyle, taking up the cross and following the Lord Jesus Christ. So this individualism has become a curse in many churches where there is no denial of self, living a community-oriented life that we see portrayed in the Holy Bible.

So these are some of the challenges that I face in pastoring a church in the city. But the good news is that there is hope in the Lord and the Spirit of God sanctifies people through the unadulterated proclamation of the Word of God. So, my only hope that people will change is that when we preach faithfully the word of God, the Spirit of God will use it to sanctify the people of God.

C. Stephen David

serves as one of the elders at Ekklesia Evangelical Fellowship, Hyderabad, Telangana. He is married to Chaitanya and they have two children.

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