Max De Pree wisely stated that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. It is often the most difficult thing to do as well.
Churches have to directly face the reasons for decline and confront that which has been holding them back. Though there are numerous reasons for ministry decline, here are the ones most recognized by Church Revitalization specialists and consultants. Ministry leaders that are evaluating the vitality of their churches would be wise to deliberate on the following causes of congregational decline.
1. Lack of visionary and purposeful pastoral leadership.The primary reason churches decline and lose their sense of hope and passion is the lack of visionary leadership. Pastors and significant lay leaders without vision, purpose and an effective strategy create a leadership vacuum that results in a misalignment of resources that rob churches of fruitful outcomes for effort and resources invested.
2. Lack of purpose. Every ministry leader needs to know what the ministry they are leading is attempting to achieve. Having a clearly defined and communicated purpose gives meaning to every activity and aligns ministry resources to accomplish agreed-upon tasks through agreed-upon strategies. If the purpose is unclear, unstated or under-communicated, the ministry will lack focused energy and achievement.
3. Fear of change. A church’s ability and eagerness to implement needed changes to maximize its ministries and resources is at the core of congregational transformation. Growth requires change. Change requires risk. Risk quite often invokes fear. Resistance to change is too often historical, emotional and personal, rather than spiritual and practical.
Click here to read the remaining eight reasons churches lose momentum.
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