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Are you becoming a "consumer" church member?

Today (July 25, 2022) Noted church consultant, Dr. Thom Rainer, writes today on  Eleven Signs You Are Becoming a Church Consumer Instead of a Committed Church Member .   When you look in the mirror, do any of the sign of the person in his article ?
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A Fervent Plea for Church Revitalization

In my previous post, I spoke of ugly baby churches and the statistical likelihood that your church is an ugly baby. Sadly, most churches in America are ugly babies—plateaued at best or, more likely, in a death spiral after a decadal decline. In 2019 most statistics ventured that somewhere between 65 and 85 percent of churches were in a state of plateau or decline. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. By all indicators, most churches aren’t doing as well as before the pandemic—at least in worship attendance, programs, and finance. [1] In my previous post, I also said that, statistically , I am not optimistic that your church will do an about-face in its march down the road of decline. Such a turnaround involves changes and sacrifices that most churches are unwilling to make. Your church must staunch the bleeding and obediently return to the Great Commission call to make disciples and the Great Commandment mandate to love God and others. I can’t guarantee any church attempting a turnarou

The Ugly Babies of Church Revitalization

Your baby is ugly. I know; you don’t want to hear it, and I get it. We’re talking about your baby, for goodness sake. She’s not stunning. But you love her, and you’d defend her from anyone, wouldn’t you? Especially the guy who says she’s ugly. And I’m the guy who says she’s ugly. No, I’m not talking about your kids or grandchildren—I’m sure they’re gorgeous. I’m talking about your church. Your church is an ugly baby. Or, at least statistically speaking, your church is an ugly baby. Depending on the figures you look at, somewhere between 65 and 85 percent of churches are rather unattractive—ugly babies, at best, if not total dumpster fires. And these are "pre-COVID" numbers. Over the last year and a half, I’ve seen it for myself in many geographical areas. Your church is far less welcoming than you think, and your congregation is inwardly focused. Sure, you support “global missions,” but your church has delegated spreading the Gospel to the “professionals.” You

The One Overarching Reason Churches Close their Doors: Jesus Shuts them Down!

 I like to think of myself as a student of the root causes of the death of local churches and what it takes to turn around a congregation that’s on a death spiral before it winds up closing its doors. Dozens of books and articles seek to explain the ins and outs of church death and church revitalization. And while church deaths all have their own unique stories and individual circumstances leading up to the closure, there’s only one overarching reason a church closes its doors. That is because our Lord shut it down! What!? That’s right. The New Testament speaks only once of a church closing. Only once! That’s in Revelation, Chapter 2:1-7 (NASB, 2020), where we read: 1   “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: “ 2   I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to

"People just don't want to come to church anymore!" The Last Words of a Dying Church

 Lately, I've had the opportunity to observe some dying churches, and to talk to people about the increasing problem of church decline and death. I know many dying organizations subscribe to the mantra, "We've never done it that way before." But, in the case of churches, it assumes that at least someone  in the organization is trying to turn things around.  Why does no one show up for worship on Sundays? Because "no one wants to come to church anymore." It's actually an answer that I heard before COVID, but the pandemic seems to reinforce that line of thinking. And I understand that cultural Christianity is dead. There is no societal expectation that people show up for church just because that's what "respectable" people do. That should be a win. Do we really want unregenerate people in church leadership? But it does cut into the numbers, especially for churches that don't really have much to offer by way of authentic community, vibrant

Church Revitalization Is Spiritual Warfare

  Is your church is inward-focused, squabbling over petty things, straining at doctrinal gnats, and otherwise just generally ineffective in reaching your community with the Gospel?   There’s at least one person happy about that. Who? The Devil. Yes, you heard me right. I do believe in Satan’s active influence in this world—and without apology. The Bible clearly tells us demonic forces are engaged in the world. As the Apostle Paul writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). Now, I don’t blame the Devil’s direct control for every single bad thing that happens. Instead, I think he’s generally happy to let people be people. People just being themselves will do the work of the Devil for him. If your church is declining or near death, take a look around. Are you preference-driven? Is

Tactical Patience: A Church Replanter's Greatest Asset

I spend a great deal of time studying church replanting, and, for me, it’s more than academic interest. No, I haven’t replanted multiple churches (just one), but I am hooked. It’s exciting to see God bring renewal and growth, opening a new chapter in the life of a local church that may have feared there was no hope for its future. One aspect of church replanting that particularly interests me is the characteristics that make a successful replanting pastor. One trait that comes up over and over again is patience— tactical patience. If delayed gratification is not your thing, being a church replanting pastor is probably not for you. As Bob Bickford and Mark Hallock write, “progress and pace are unique are unique in church replanting. Some things can be addressed immediately; others have to wait—either for the congregation to be ready to move or for the resources to be present.” [1] Tactical patience requires knowing when to change something and when not to change it. Tactical patience