I received a phone call from a Pastor who asked; “Is there a way to tell if our Church is in trouble and in danger of closing?” Diagnosing the health of a church can be tricky. It’s easy to look at the usual markers used to determine the status or condition of a local body of believers.
Attendance: how many people attend a worship gathering
Budget: counting the contributions
Children: the number of young families attending and bringing their kids
Ministry: programs and offerings to the community and the congregation
While these indicators are of some use--they may not tell the whole story. The Church in Sardis received a strong rebuke--they looked alive but were actually not.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:1-2
Bottom line, a busy church can look alive but really be dead. Mark Clifton, National Replant Strategist offers the following signs that your church could be in trouble and in danger of closing:
10 Signs Your Church May Be In Trouble
The Church tends to rely on programs
The Church resents the community for not responding to their outreach efforts
The Church values the process of decision making more than the outcome of the decision
The Church is built around a personality
Personal preferences are more of a priority than the needs of the unreached
Leadership development of the next generation is lacking
The Church is no longer part of the fabric of the community
Once a community church it is now a commuter church (congregants live outside immediate area)
An over abundance of activity and passionately maintaining traditions anesthetizes the Church to the real pain of decline
Caring for the building is more important than caring for the community
If you or your leaders believe your church exhibits some of these signs you can get help. The Replant Team of the North American Mission Board can help your congregation determine options that could lead to renewed vitality and mission.
Interested? Contact us here to learn more about Replanting.
Bob Bickford is a replanting pastor at The Groves Church in Webster Groves, Mo., founder of churchreplanters.com, is a Church Replanting Catalyst with the North American Board and serves as the chair of the Church Revitalization Team of the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association. He and his wife, Barb, and their youngest daughter make their home in Webster Groves, Mo. Follow him on Twitter @bobick