For quite some time, we have been staring the awful reality in the face that the Church is in rapid decline. The average age is in the 60’s (at least in the UMC), we are not bringing in new members, and we are not making new disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world (which, oddly enough, is the mission of the UMC).
My assumption is that you could gather a handful of pastors from any general area and come up with a hundred different reasons why the Church is in decline. I would be curious, however, to know how many pastors share my sentiment that the Church is in decline because the pastors are ushering it to its death.
We really don’t have to go very far back in history to see a time in which preachers praught (yeah…I made up a word there) with passion and conviction. They did not hold back from proclaiming the Truth because the Truth is what people need to hear. There was a time, not too long ago, when Church leaders expected to see transformation in the lives of the people. Today, many pastors are preaching soft messages of what they think the people want to hear…not what they need to hear. Today, churches don’t expect transformation, but rather maintenance of the status quo.
I think if we are going to look at the dying Church and pose the question as to who/what is to blame…we must first look at ourselves. In light of this (my humble…but accurate opinion), below are 5 sure-fire ways to kill your church…
1 – Convince your church that God is in the process of drawing all people to Himself, so everyone should sit back and wait for the masses to arrive.
2 – Set the precident that the paid staff are the only ones that are called to ministry, so everyone should just let them do all the ministry.
3 – Preach a sermon series called, “Five Suggestions of Jesus.”
4 – Because people show up late, begin locking the doors at the start of service. They’ll show up on time next week.
5 – If you don’t get enough money to pay the bills the first time around, pass the plate again…and again…and again.