2017-11-12 14:58:58 UTC
May 17 2017
1) There has been a numerical decline for four or
2) The church does not look like the community in
which it is located. The community has changed its
ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic makeup, but the
church has not. Many members are driving from other
places to come to the church.
3) The congregation is mostly comprised of senior
adults. It is just a few years of funerals away
from having no one left in the church.
4) The focus is on the past, not the future. Most
conversations are about the good old days. Those
good old days may have been 25 or more years in
the past. Often a hero pastor of the past is held
as the model to emulate.
5) The members are intensely preference-driven.
They are more concerned about their music style,
their programs, their schedules, and their
facilities than reaching people with the gospel.
6) The budget is severely inwardly focused. Most
of the funds are expended to keep the lights on
and/or to meet the preferences of the members.
There are few dollars for ministry and missions.
7) There are sacred cow facilities. It might be a
parlor or a pulpit. It could be pews instead of
chairs. It might be the entirety of the worship
center or the sanctuary. Members insist on holding
tightly to those things God wants us to hold loosely.
8) Any type of change is met with fierce resistance.
The members are confronted with the choice to change
or die. And though few would articulate it, their
choice by their actions or lack of actions is the
choice to die.
Churches with four or more of these signs have three
choices. They can embark on a process of change and
revitalization. Or they can close the doors for a
season and re-open with a new name, a new vision, and
some new people.
Of course, the third choice is to do nothing. That
is the choice to die.
Thousands of churches will unfortunately do just
that the next twelve months.