by Barry Cameron
Every year thousands of churches unfortunately close their doors. Why? Because they kept doing things that did them in. Here are some mistakes dead churches make.
Dead churches erroneously believe …
1. Growth just happens. They mistakenly believe growing churches are nothing more than the result of being in the right place at the right time. Even the perfect garden in the perfect place won’t stay perfect if you just walk away and leave it.
2. You can have evangelism without evangelists. In other words, you can reach the lost without ever having anyone in the church actually reach out to the lost. They believe you can win souls without soul winners. That’s why they die.
3. You can have progress without change. They want to grow. They really do. They just don’t want to change. They don’t want any new people taking their parking place, seat, or place of leadership in the church.
4. You can have success without sacrifice. They want growth and don’t mind the cost as long as someone else pays it. They’ve convinced themselves great things can come about without any price being paid or pain being experienced.
5. God will bless in spite of sin and unholy living. They believe God will bless in spite of how they live. Obviously, there have been no in-depth studies of the lives of people like Achan, Samson, David, Ananias and Sapphira to name a few.
6. First-class facilities, grounds, printed materials, programs and activities aren’t important. In a dying church, members often think ripped and worn out carpet, parking lots with cracks as wide as the Grand Canyon, burned out lights, poorly designed, typo-riddled programs, landscaping resembling a tropical rain forest, equipment from the 50s, etc., doesn’t matter to the unchurched. The fact is, people who demand excellence in the cars they drive, homes they live in, and places where they do business, won’t accept less than the best from the church they attend.
7. Leaders don’t have to be tithers. Their leaders lead by the motto: “Do as we say, not as we do.” Most people would be shocked to learn how many leaders don’t tithe in dying churches. Their “weakly” giving is just that. That’s why their church is dying.
8. By-laws, budgets and board meetings are really important. They are constantly beset by the big “Bs”: By-laws, Budgets and Board meetings … as if those things somehow impart the supernatural, providential blessing of God. Growing churches focus, instead, on the Bible.
9. The Pastor and staff work for us. They see their Pastor and staff as official employees who are paid to do the work of the church. The Bible teaches the opposite. In fact, the Pastor and staff are to equip the saints “for the work of the ministry.”
10. Being traditional is spiritual. People in dying churches think “the way we’ve always done it,” is somehow holier than attempting something new. They forget the time-tested traditions of today were cutting edge “new” things of the “good ‘ole days.”
11. The world cares about our doctrine. They mistakenly believe their beliefs will bring more believers. Few unchurched people even know what doctrine is. We ought to have the right doctrine for sure. However, just having the right doctrine alone won’t grow a church
12. There’s always next year. They have no sense of urgency. Growing churches are passionate, enthusiastic and urgent about everything. They pursue ministry every day, as if they don’t have the promise of tomorrow. Because they don’t.
Neither do we.