Monday, February 24, 2014

6 Practical Things that Mean Your Church is Dying

My title for this blog post might seem a little weird to some people because many think they would automatically know if their church is dying. It has been our experience that people do not know. And sometimes the pastor(s) don't even know. I have made a few observations of dying churches and thought these observations might help some pastor or church member wake up to the fact that their church just might be dying. This is a small list, but it has been very telling for many.

6 Practical Things that Mean Your Church is Dying:

1. The baptismal pool is filled with cobwebs. Spiders don't build cobwebs in places that are frequently filled with water. If your church's baptismal pool is dusty and cobweb filled, it's time to look back and see when it was last used. If it's been a while, get on your knees and pray for the lost souls around you. Pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers. Be the first in line.

2. Classrooms are used for storage. We've seen many churches who use former classroom (and even sanctuary) space for storage. If your church is using teaching or classroom space for storage instead of teaching, find out why. Get on your knees and ask God to fill those spaces with eager souls who want more of His Word.

3. The people are more concerned with tradition than lost souls. When the idea and practice of doing things the way they've always been done is more prominent than the winning of lost souls, it's time to get on our knees and ask God for a burden for souls. I guarantee you that if you pray for souls, your focus will shift and your burden will grow like a creek in a flood. People who are dying into a Christ-less eternity couldn't care less about what type of music you sing in your services or which Bible version you prefer. Those things don't matter in Hell.

4. People gossip. If people are gossiping in your church - if you are gossiping - your church is not growing but is dying a slow, painful death. I once knew a church whose members often said, "We don't gossip here." All I can say is, for a church that doesn't gossip, they sure talk about people a lot. Gossip kills churches, causes rifts in relationships, minimizes Christ's work on the Cross and causes younger Christians to stumble. It also slowly destroys those who do the gossiping.

5. The nursery is empty or almost empty. An empty nursery indicates a lack of young families. Once a nursery empties out, churches often move into a maintenance mode and simply sustain what they have.

6. New people are from other churches. If you are seeing new people in your church and you find that they are mostly coming from other churches, that's a red flag. New people in our churches need to be new Christians. We need to be filling our churches with people we've been leading to Christ; new babes in Christ. If most of the new people in your church are simply hopping over from another church in town without a sound, doctrinal reason to leave that church, they will simply hop away from your church when something doesn't go their way there. Be wary of church-hoppers. They are not profitable to a growing church. They will ultimately destroy your church.

The all-encompassing solution to every problem listed here is prayer. Jesus, Himself, gave us the solution to these things. In Luke 10:2, He told us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He would send forth laborers. He said the fields are already white unto harvest. As a matter of fact, He said the harvest is great. Not just ready, but great!  The fields need no prep work; they are ready to be harvested. We prayed to the Lord of the harvest and so far, hundreds have come to Christ, four new churches have been planted and opportunities to preach and teach have increased abundantly even in the midst of personal trials. Do the praying; God will give the increase.


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