Autopsy of a Deceased Church
Healthy Churches: 10%
Symptoms of Sickness: 40%
Very Sick: 40%
As many as 100,000 churches in America are showing signs of decline toward death.
Early Symptoms of Sickness:
- Ministries and programs are shifting towards those inside the church rather than those outside the church.
- Some people may be added each year, but no sense of true disciple making taking place.
- No clear plan for making disciples and disciple makers.
- Lots of programs and ministry clutter but many contribute little or nothing to making of disciples.
- Lots of busyness and activities but much of it has no sense of a real purpose.
Ten Factors Leading to Death
- Slow Erosion. Some in facilities, some in ministries that once had impact, but mostly in the prayer life of those in the church.
It is rare for a long-term church member to see erosion in his or her church. Growth may come rapidly, but decline is usually slow, imperceptibly slow.
This slow erosion is the worst type of decline for churches, because the members have no sense of urgency to change.
They see the church on a regular basis; they don’t see the gradual decline that is taking place before their eyes.
- The Past is the Hero.
There are several points in decline where the church can turn around, but the key influencers refuse to listen.
They are blind to the reality of the declining church.
Areas we cling to: worship styles, facilities, pastors of the past, our own needs rather than the needs of those without Christ, the way we have always done things so we are comfortable.
- Refusing to Look Like the Community.
Losing the children and grandchildren of those in the church, when the church does reach out, they ask the community to come to them rather than the church going to the community
The church becomes a fortress, keeping people and possessions on the inside safe while keeping people on the other side out.
Church stops reaching and caring for the community.