Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Signs of Dead or Dying Churches

Some time ago I found an article on Churchcentral.com about spiritually dead churches and some of their characteristics. The link no longer works so I’m reproducing the list below that I found on other sites. I just remember reading and going down the list and seeing so many familiar things—all of them examples of things I’ve seen, places I’ve been, if not dead, then dying.

“Here are eight death clues. Spiritually dead churches:
1. Have lost their sense of mission to those who have not heard about Jesus Christ and do not pant after the Great Commission;

2. Exist primarily to provide fellowship for the “members of the club;”

3. Expect their pastors to focus primarily on ministering to the members’ personal spiritual needs;

4. Design ministry to meet the needs of their members;

5. Have no idea about the needs of the “stranger outside the gates;”

6. Are focused more on the past than the future;

7. Often experience major forms of conflict;

8. And watch the bottom line of the financial statement more than the number of confessions of faith. “

The article goes on to say that for the church to survive, it needs more than revitalization, it needs Resurrection.

“If resurrection happens, our behavior changes:
1. The church turns outward in its focus.

2. Jesus, not the institution, will become the object of our affection.

3. The Great Commission will become our mandate, and we will measure everything we do by how many new converts we make rather than whether we have a black bottom line.

4. Membership in the Kingdom will replace membership in the church.

5. Pastors will cease being chaplains of pastoral care and will become modern-day apostles of Jesus Christ.

6. And those who try to control the church with an iron fist or intimidate the church at every turn of the road will be shown the door.

I'm not sure I agree with all of these last ones, but I do pray that dead and dying churches will awaken from their slumber and truly impact the Kingdom of God. I know I desire to be a part of a ministry that is truly answering the call. I pray that I am the type of person that enlivens a church and inspires a people to great things. I pray for willing hearts.

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