by Travis Stephens
I saw this article and knew it applied universally. Take note and take action!
Ninety percent of the churches in the United States today are stagnant or declining.
Dying churches are closing their doors at the rate of ten per day. Even church members who have been dedicated to the church for years are attending church less than ever before.
It would be easy to throw up our hands in frustration and give up, but perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope. If ninety percent of churches aren’t growing, that means there’s ten percent that are. Which leads me to two conclusions, either God is choosing to bless these churches over the others, or these churches are doing something the other churches are not.
I’ve been in dying churches, and I’ve been in growing churches. And I choose to believe the later. They look quite different from each other. Here are six differences.
1 – Growing Churches are Outsider Focused
Growing churches focus on those outside the church. The Pastor speaks a message each week that appeals to those who don’t know Christ. Every ministry in the church puts a high priority on guests. Church events are geared towards reaching those in the community who don’t attend a church. The church budget is geared around evangelism. Discussions revolve around the best way to reach those far from Christ.
Dying churches focus on those inside the church. The Pastor speaks a message to the congregation each week with little thought of guests. Ministries in the church place a high priority on serving those inside the church. Church events are geared towards fellowshipping with one another. The church budget is geared towards keeping members happy. Discussions revolve around the color of the carpet.
2. Growing Churches are Staff Led
In growing churches, the Senior Pastor is allowed to lead and make decisions based on the vision God has given him for the church. The Senior Pastor is allowed to hire his own staff as the budget allows. The Senior Pastor decides what ministries to add and what ministries to cut. The Senior Pastor decides what events should take place and which shouldn’t.
In dying churches the church or church board lead and make decisions. The church or board nominate and approve any hires made. The church or board decides what ministries should be funded and which shouldn’t. The church or board decides what events should take place and which shouldn’t. In a dying church, the Pastor only has as much authority as the church or board chooses to give him.
3. Growing churches value innovation over local tradition.
Growing churches are innovative churches. They are always seeking out new ways to reach the communities they serve. They leverage technology for the benefit of the Gospel. Growing churches have a strong online presence through their website and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Innovative churches believe the best way to make disciples is through community, so they embrace small groups.
Dying churches are churches so rooted in tradition they refuse to change. They are always seeking out ways to preserve what has already been established. They fear technology and believe it’s a danger to the Gospel. Dying churches have little to no online presence. They believe the best way to make disciples is in a classroom, so they embrace class settings such as Sunday School.
4. Growing Churches have a bias toward action.