“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die”. Ecclesiates 3:1-2
There are many congregations that will close their doors this coming Sunday. Those congregations most likely have been in decline for some time. There can be many reasons that are given for the decline and closing of a church but there are some basic reasons that are shared by each of these congregations. These reasons are no big secrets and they are obvious for anyone who is willing to take a good look. Many churches suffer decline and eventual death but here are some of the strongest reasons.
1. A Lost Vision
One of the first reason churches or any organization will suffer decline is because “vision” has been lost. Maintaining the programs and the systems of the organization mean more to the fellowship than the overall vision for the church. What exactly is “vision?” Vision can be explained in various ways. It can be
- an experience of seeing someone or something in a dream
- a supernatural apparition
- a vivid mental image
- an image of the future
- a sight of unusual beauty
When a clear vision has been lost, purpose becomes non-existent. Vision must have a purpose and a purpose must have a vibrant and clear vision. A congregation without “a vision” can expect a very short life span. Even if the church is 100 years old it cannot thrive if “the vision” for that fellowship has been lost.
2. Lack of Purpose
When there is no vision there is no purpose. If there is no life in the team, death of the organization is inevitable. If there is no purpose there is no strategy. The purpose of an organization can be lost simply because there is no driving conviction relating to a plan. So, without a vision that has a purpose there really is no need to try and develop any kind of a plan for the future.
3. Suppressed Strategy
If there is no strategy, there is really no life in the church team. When “vision” becomes non-existent, purpose and strategies are suppressed. There is very little reason to expect anything to be accomplished due to the fact that there is no plan in place. Strategies are like the playbook of a professional sports team. The playbook points the way. It explains what is the desired outcome. When strategies are non-existent or suppressed, the life of the organization dies. Life for any organization, especially churches and congregations, calls for movement. Movement calls for strategies to be in place. Without a strategic plan stagnation and death are a certainty. The best strategy plans for any New Testament congregation can be found within the New Testament book of Acts and the teachings of Jesus within the Gospels.
In a Nutshell:
The 3 reasons many congregations are suffering decline and face a bleak future is due to their
- LOST VISION
- LACK OF PURPOSE
- SUPPRESSED STRATEGY
How is your fellowship doing?
Do you see any of these three characteristics in your church?
Does your fellowship have a vision, a purpose, and a strategy?