Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Kill Your Church

by Bob Perry

Top Ten Ways to Kill Your Church:
1. Be negative toward any and all change.
2. Freely share every critical judgment and negative thought about the church.
3. Wear your feelings on your sleeve and never forget a perceived slight.
4. Distrust your leaders and question their motives.
5. Withhold your financial and emotional investment in the church when you are unhappy with anything or anyone.
6. Predict the demise of the church so that the church moves from missional motivation to survival mode.
7. Make sure your church keeps doing the things that are not currently working or achieving growth.
8. Ignore the strengths, successes, and accomplishments of the church and highlight its flaws and failures.
9. Listen to and appease the most emotionally and spiritually immature members.
10. Spend your time and energy responding to crises rather than initiating mission and ministry.

These are challenging times for Christian congregations. Many of our churches are struggling mightily with the increasingly unchurched culture in which we live, the aging of our membership base, the difficulty of achieving consensus about change, and other challenges.

But the greater tragedy I see is that some church members seem to take a "my way or the highway" attitude about their involvement in a congregation. It seems that, for some, if they can not have the church remain the same institution they remember from 40 years ago, they would just as soon see it die.

One person probably can't "kill" a church single-handedly, but one member who is determined enough can start a movement within the church that can result in paralyzing progress. That lack of progress and adaptation to a changing context will, over time, make the church more and more irrelevant and undesirable to outsiders.

The actions listed above have all taken place in churches. In fact, many of us have seen all ten of these at one time or another in one church or another. Don't let it happen in your church.

You can contact Bob Perry, Churchnet’s Congregational Health Team Leader, at (888) 420-2426 ext. 706 or at bperry@thechurchnet.org.

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