Wednesday, May 01 2019
"I didn't see it coming..." Which is what I hear SO MANY people say as their church declines (and a record number close) over many years because these things tricked them into believing their church was OK. So they did not need to make any changes:
1) The church has money. (Money in the bank has nothing to do with congregational health. In fact, it often points to sickness, even to the point of death. What are we going to do with it? Take it with us?)
2) Members still had their friends in the church. (This is called a HOLY HUDDLE)
3) Guests still came to the church. (BUT they never came back)
4) Mission giving was still good. (If a church is no longer reaching anyone in the community who is lost and far from God, you simply can't continue to live)
5) Meetings were well attended. (Same people come and nothing is accomplished).
I am deeply concerned for churches that are in denial about their present situation and circumstance. It’s no time to blame culture or anyone else, but the time to get on your knees, cry out to God, and REPENT of not doing the mission that Jesus gave to the local church (Make Disciples/Seek and to save that which was lost).
Read Thom Rainer's book "Autopsy of a Deceased Church" It is sobering. Five years ago that book was published and it is a surgical view of the situation faced by thousands of churches across the country and more than a few right here in our Jerusalem. It is better for a church to recognize and acknowledge decline and decay and DO SOMETHING, than to pretend that everything is going to be ok if we just keep the doors open. THAT is NO WAY to do the mission of Christ.
I read a book within the past few years that I am re-reading now (much like Rainer’s Autopsy) entitled, Change (Your Church) or Die by Josh Hunt. One thing that I am becoming increasingly convinced of is that in many of our churches, PEOPLE FEAR CHANGE MORE THAN THEY FEAR HELL. Not necessarily their own eternity (they believe they are saved and safe), but to make any changes in the church to keep people out of Hell is not relevant or personal to them, so they just don’t care. They weigh their personal preferences over the eternity of those who are lost.
Change is constant. That is a fact. The only unchanging aspect of the Christian life is God Himself, His Word, and His mission. (Hebrews 13:8, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 19:10) Your church is perfectly tuned to get the results you are now getting. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting. PERIOD…
Life is a series of choices. Churches die because of decisions people IN those churches make. I am praying constantly and crying out to God that churches recognize their situations, REPENT and RETURN TO THE MISSION…RETURN TO THEIR FIRST LOVE…and let God change us and His church to reach those who are lost and far from Him.
Your Lead Follower,