Today’s guest post comes to us from my good friend Thom Rainer. Dr. Rainer is the CEO and President of LifeWay Christian Resources and will be one of our featured speakers at the 2016 Renegade Pastors Conference (see the PS below for more details on how to be a Renegade and join me and Dr. Rainer at the conference).
Nine out of ten churches in America are either declining, or they are growing so slowly they are not keeping up with the growth rate of the community in which they are located.
It’s a long sentence. Read it again carefully. Soak it in. Across America 90 percent of the churches are losing ground in their respective communities. Most of them are declining. Many of them will close.
As I have worked with thousands of churches over the past three decades, I have noticed something fascinating, yet disturbing, about many of these churches. They are still acting like it’s the 1980s. The world has passed them by. They are deemed irrelevant by members of their communities. They are frozen in a time warp.
Why has this tragedy fallen on so many churches? Though I don’t want to oversimplify the issue, I see at least eight reasons for this crisis.
- They are trying to shelter themselves from culture. In the 1980s, congregations were typically part of the mainstream culture. They were accepted in most places, and embraced in some. That is not the culture of today. Many church members use their churches as a getaway from the realities they don’t want to face.
- Programs were easy answers. The vast majority of churches in the 1980s were program-driven. If there was a perceived need, they would order a resource that best solved that need. Many churches today still think they can get quick fixes from programs.
- Churches largely catered to the needs of church members in the 1980s. We thus created a culture of membership that is me-driven. Many church members do not want to make the sacrifices necessary to reach our communities and culture today. They are demanding their own needs and preferences to be the priority of their churches.
- Change was more incremental. If your church is stuck in the 1980s, it does not have to worry about the rapid pace of change today. Members can pretend like their church does not need to change despite the massive upheavals of change in the world.
The read the full article and the remaining 4 reasons, click here.
Your partner in ministry,
P.S. – Now is a great time to join the Renegade Pastors Network and learn about the 7 principles at the heart of this network. This week only, purchase my BRAND NEW book, The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry.
The book also comes with a two-month FREE test drive of my Renegade Pastors Network, which means you’ll have an exclusive opportunity to register for the annual Renegade Pastors Conference in February!
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