Four Cents: Why do churches get stuck?
In an attempt to open up the conversation a bit more, I am going to try something different with this blog. Once a month or so, I will pose a question relating to the health of the church. I will put in my two cents, you put in your two. The goal is to have much interaction and get people thinking about how our churches can attain better health.
Plateaued growth is a common description said of many churches. Indeed, entire denominations are in a state of decline. For example, the denomination that my church is a part of has only 22 out of 43,000 churches that meet the qualifications of a “standout” church. My church is not one of the 22, which only motivates me to dive deeper in prayer and petition God for a revival in our community.
What are the criteria of a standout church? These churches have been able to baptize at least 26 people per year for 10 consecutive years; have overall worship attendance growth during the same 10 years; and have a membership to baptism ratio of no more than 20 to 1. Yes, those are high criteria, but only 22 churches met that level of excellence.
While each church has a set of unique characteristics that may explain why they are not winning more people to Christ, I see some overall trends that may add to the quagmire of mud in which our churches bog.
First and foremost is a lack of commitment to doctrinal Truth. Without a firm stance on that which is absolute, any growth that occurs within a church is on shaky ground. Second is a lack of unity with individual members of the body and lack of unity amongst churches at the denominational level. How can the body move forward to better health if each part is pushing in a different direction? Third is a dearth of prayer. Prayer is the foundation to any ministry within the church. Churches must be seeking God’s guidance in all they do. Fourth is a lack of leadership in the area of personal evangelism. The pastor must lead his church in evangelism. If he doesn’t do it, then few others will carry that torch. Fifth is a lack of relevancy in the community. If your church is not outwardly focused, then the country-club mentality sets in quite easily.
There’s my two cents. What are your two?