There are few things as sad as watching a once great church grow old, become irrelevant, and slowly die. What is worse is that they either don’t know they’re dying or they simply don’t care as long as those remaining are happy. Sadly, I have witnessed this more times than I wish to count. In addition, I have attended this type of church before.
Here is what I have noticed about many of these churches – at a pivotal point, a decision was made to continue doing ministry the way they always have rather than alter their approach to reach a changing community or the next generation. After months of committee meetings and off-line conversations, the church finally utters the The 10 Last Words Of Dying Churches – “We’ve never done it that way before. We’re not changing.”
Here are just a few powerful statements or questions that come up in a dying church. I am not anti church however I feel as a pastor and someone in leadership it is our duty to stop and re-look at today’s structure in the church. As I get some time over the next few days I will try to go into more detail with some current issues churches are facing and then I will look at some steps or as we say at work “remapping practices” to help us from leading into more dying churches.
2. “Isn’t it nice seeing people in coats and ties and not disrespecting God by wearing blue jeans?”
3. “We’re more spiritual and doctrinally pure than that fast-growing, watered-down gospel, baptizing-hundreds-every-year church down the street.”
4. “Can you believe that church is stealing all our people?”
5. “I hear we’re having to cut the budget because giving is not what it used to be.”
6. “Isn’t it great having all this room on the pew to spread out.”
7. “I love singing all four verses.”
8. “Don’t worry about our attendance. Let me tell you how large our membership is.”
9. “Are you coming to Monday night visitation?”
10. “Remember the good ‘ole days.”
11. “Visitors, please stand.”
12. “I hear it’s just a show over there.”
13. “Don’t make them mad, they tithe the most.”
14. “We just formed a Committee on Committees.”
15. “We don’t talk about money. We preach the Bible.”
16. “Isn’t it great getting out of the parking lot quickly?”
17. “The poor will always be with us.”
18. “I’m really tired about having to hear about lost people all the time.”
19. “Pastor, I think we need to start praying for revival.”
20. “I got SAVED again this week.”
21. “All the other churches are a cult.”
Do these phrases hit close to home for you? Please note I am not talking about “The” Church but “a” Church. There is a very big difference here. The Church will never die however local bodies of believers are dying daily. And I think this big question here is Why?. I hope over the next few blogs I will be able to address just few ideas on this topic.