Doctor of Ministry

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Wick, David


Pastors can face difficulties when trying to shepherd unregenerate people in their congregations. This qualitative case study investigated the characteristics of the difficulties and what effects they can have on pastors. A biblical and theological review of the book of Matthew provided an understanding of the theme of the “many and the few,” the wide and narrow gates, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and judging others. In addition, Matthew’s Gospel provided an understanding of defining the unregenerate and regenerate. The pastoral epistles of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus provided a theological understanding of pastors' roles, responsibilities, and duties in relation to the unregenerate and regenerate believers. A literature review explored critical elements of the difficulties pastors face, including cultural Christianity, its perspective on regeneration, cheap grace, evangelism in a post-Christian culture, challenges inherent to pastoral ministry, and burnout. Furthermore, this study sought to understand how pastors and elders in the Forest Lakes District in the Evangelical Free Church of America define the unregenerate in their congregations, shepherd them, address conflict and challenges, and if they have developed and implemented strategies. Interviews were conducted with the pastors, and the elders completed an online questionnaire. The research revealed a substantial need for a definitive strategy in ministering to the unregenerate. Lastly, the study showed that pastors could experience burnout from stress due to conflict with some unregenerate people and from dealing with wolves in congregations.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis