You have heard the statistics: 85 percent (or so) of churches are plateaued or declining. So many churches that were once flourishing aren’t now. The question is “Why?” How does this happen? How does a church lose its momentum? How can we keep it from happening to us? If it has happened, how do we regain momentum? I hope my list below helps. Here are the reasons:
The Vision Becomes Unclear
Vision drift happens. Slowly and quietly a church forgets why it’s doing what it’s doing. This vision can also be hijacked by a person or group of people with agendas and ambitions to turn the ministry into the ministry they just left behind. Why is it that people leave one place, come to our place, and then try to turn our place into the one they just left? Don’t allow that to happen. Great leaders are “mean about the vision.”
Gravitational Pull Takes Over
Andy Stanley told me years ago that the gravitational pull of the church is always inward. A church will tend to begin to design its services, ministries, and programming for those that currently attend rather than for those that aren’t yet convinced. Every day, church leaders must react against this gravitational pull and remind the church that the church exists primarily for the benefit of its non-members.
Energy and Enthusiasm Decrease
When we forget why we do what we do, we will eventually lose our passion. When we forget that the church is a spiritual rescue station, the sense of energy and passion diminishes, from the parking lot to the stage. Focusing on why we do ministry makes all the difference. We must consistently remind those who serve with us why we are here and spur them on toward love and good deeds for the sake of the call!
The Two Front Doors Are Neglected
The two things most commonly neglected in churches that have lost their way are the website and the worship service. God looks at the heart, but man looks on the outward appearance. In order to reach people that no one else is reaching or everyone else wants to reach, we must pay attention to the #1 and #2 ways that people indicate interest in our church: checking out our website, and checking out our service. We need to spend inordinate amounts of time designing, tweaking, and evaluating both of these first impressions of our church, to maximize the hopes that more people might give Jesus and the church one more shot — and then come back for more.
The Leader Stops Growing
As the leader, the bad news is that we are the lid. The good news is that we are the lid! If we can grow ourselves, we can grow the ministry. Every growing leader I know leads a growing ministry. Every stagnated leader I know leads a stagnated ministry. This is why I am such a big proponent of ongoing one-on-one coaching. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). Number one mistake pastors make? Isolation. Don’t allow that to be you.
This post was originally published at CourageToLead.com