What leads to church death? Have you ever wondered why some congregations are exploding in growth and many others are dying a slow and agonizing death?
Churchleadership.org has this to say about church decline, “Most of the statistics tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop-some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership. And now, over half way through the first decade of the 21st century, we are seeing the figures drop even more!”
Thom Rainer translates the stats about church decline in this way:
65 percent of churches are plateaued or declining, not 80 percent. And 35 percent of churches are growing.
Regardless how one translates this, churches are declining, and some are dying. What causes a church to die? Here are six reasons to consider as to why some churches are dying.
1. The Church Has Lost Its Ability to Grow Disciples
Growing disciples is a process that multiplies. A church that concentrates on growing disciples will grow.
2. The Church Has Lost a Clear Vision and Direction
Churches that are dying do not have a roadmap, a plan, or a vision. A clear vision projects a clear direction of growth and life of any fellowship.
3. The Church Has Lost Its Ability to Grow a True Fellowship
Fellowship has disappeared in the congregation. Programs and events have become more important than the development of real fellowship.
4. The Church Has Lost Its Desire to Go Into the World
The congregation has become inverted. It cannot look outside of itself. The stain glass windows have blocked the world out.
5. The Church Has Lost the People Resources Needed to Grow a Church
People have taken second place to the program structure of the church. Growing and encouraging the skills of those in attendance is not taking place in a dying church.
6. The Church Has Become More Socially Led Than Spiritually Led
The Holy Spirit is being ignored and brushed aside in dead churches. These type of congregations are not experiencing what took place in the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost.
What do you think about these six reasons for a churches decline?