Monday Morning Insights

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    The seven sins of dying churches

    The seven sins of dying churches

    Here is a blog post over at The Visible Church that talks about the seven sins of dying churches as identified in the book Essential Church.  See if your church is guilty of any of these 'sins':

    Sin 1: Doctrine Dilution
    "Teaching anything less than the absolute truths in Scripture will make the younger generation feel betrayed when they learn that a large gap exists between what the Bible really says and what they were taught in church" (16).

    Sin 2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion
    "Dying churches have little evangelistic passion. It is the responsibility of the pastor and other key leaders to exhibit this evangelistic passion" (17).

    Sin 3: Failure to be Relevant
    "Churches that do not find ways to become relevant in their respective communities will eventually falter. Churches that keep their internal culture unchanged for fifty years while the world around them goes through continual periods of metamorphosis typically die with the old culture" (17).

    Sin 4: Few Outwardly Focused Ministries
    "As crucial as Bible studies and fellowship are, dying churches gorge themselves on closed study groups and churchwide fellowship events while neglecting outreach in the community. Dying churches heavily skew their ministries internally" (18).

    Sin 5: Conflict over Personal Preferences
    "People within the church can squabble over the most insignificant things (pews, seats, sofas, style of newsletters and bulletins, etc.). When the church focuses on trivial matters, the greater gospel message is left on the sidelines" (18).

    Sin 6: The Priority of Comfort
    "Dying churches are comfortable with their ministries. They do nothing outside the bounds of their comfort levels" (19). These churches are often plagued with the attitude, "That's the way we've always done it!"

    Sin 7: Biblical Illiteracy
    "We are to be diligent to present ourselves to God, workers not needing to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). If a church member does not understand the basics of Scripture, then they are hampered in their witness" (19).

    QUESTION:  Which, if any, of these seven things is your church struggling with?  Are there other things that you would add to this list?

    Read more here...



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    1. Bryan Craddock on Mon, September 20, 2010

      Four years ago I helped restart a church that dwindled down to about 15 people, all seniors. One of the characteristics I noticed was fear. They had over $10,000 in the bank yet they were afraid to spend it on even minor things like paint or repairing their sign.

    2. Peter Hamm on Mon, September 20, 2010

      I’ve visited churches in the recent past where if you sat in somebody’s “semi-assigned” seat… you’d get an angry look and be asked to move.

      Something is desperately wrong there.

    3. Q. on Mon, September 20, 2010

      Bryan, I have to say that I have encountered the same thing.  A church that had even more than that in the bank -absolutely gripped with fear about doing anything including the small things like paint etc…

    4. Jesse Orndorff on Tue, September 21, 2010

      I’ve worked at a church in this situation, it is tough, not only on the people attending but on the staff as well.

      Failure to be relevant is something I don’t know if we should put so high on the list though. If your church culture is focused on Jesus, then it should continue to be relevant.

    5. Steve Rives on Tue, October 05, 2010

      In many cases, the root problem is love of a building.  Churches that have buildings can think that because they have a building they are a church.  So if a church is a dead church, they might not even know it—after all, they have all the outward forms of legitimacy (i.e., a building and a preacher).  Alas, when we look inside the dead church, we find your seven things, and invariably find out that some deacons or elders or a few people are ruling or controlling the whole thing (that is, they run the budget and the physical property).  The only thing that would make your post better is if you changed the picture and put an image of a nice building!

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