"What did you have or do in your church ten years ago that you don't have or do today?" The top twenty responses were, for me at least, a fascinating mix of the expected and the surprises.
It's not a pleasant topic. But if we don't talk about dying churches, we will act like there are no problems.
Sick churches become dying churches. Dying churches become closed churches. In order to help create greater awareness, I have described illustratively seven personality types of sick churches.
There are several dangerous and debilitating attitudes in churches that are killing evangelism. Here are six of them
Deacons are a mystery in many churches. In some churches, they act more like elders or a board of directors. But what is a deacon supposed to do?
Many church members and leaders resist change. They seek stability and comfort over obedience and sacrifice. Let's look at five key reasons why stability is bad for a church.
The internet allows cowardly critics to hide behind a keyboard and cut people to the core through blogs, social media, and email. So how do we respond when we get a hurtful email?
About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week. Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month.
By the time I am contacted about a serious problem in a church, it is often too late. There are eight clear signs evident in many churches on the precipice of closing.
There are five imminent danger signs in churches today. I am not speaking of just those churches that have abandoned core doctrines.
Change or die. Such has been the reality of too many congregations the past ten years as the rate of church closures has accelerated. But what are some of the major changes that have taken place in congregations that are doing relatively well?
Most churches keep their members so busy they don't have time to do ministry. Most churches keep their members so busy they don't have time to do ministry. Indeed, I spoke to a lay elder of a church recently who told me he simply did not have time to get to know his neighbors because he was so busy in his church.
I remain an obnoxious optimist about the future of American congregations. No, I don't have my head in the sand.
I can't tell pastors today how difficult it was when I was a pastor. To the contrary, I have to be honest and tell them it is more difficult now.
I asked church leaders and churchgoers to share some really good excuses they've heard from people who choose not to attend church. I got some fascinating responses.
"I need you to do a funeral for my cat." Yes, that is a request made to a pastor by a church member. And here's the stranger reality. I have heard from dozens of pastors who have had this very request.
There are many things pastors would like to say, but they don't feel like they have the freedom to do so. I compiled ten of the more common unspoken comments pastors wish they could express.
"There is so much negativity in our church. What can we do?" What can a pastor or church leader do to help move the congregation more positively?
If you serve as a pastor or church staff member, there is rarely a boring moment. A few years ago, I began polling pastors and church staff and collecting some really weird things church members said to them.
The interim period between two pastors can be a time of great benefit for churches. It is for that reason I encourage churches not to make mistakes common during this interim time.
I have been following these long-tenured pastors for years. And I have seen consistently seven patterns, or habits, in their lives.
They won't ever go away. So you can either leave ministry because of them, or you can deal with them. Here are seven ways you can deal with gnats.
The church built too big. And now comes the aftermath. I also call it "unintended consequences." Here are eight of them:
Time is of the essence. If changes do not happen soon, very soon, these churches will die. The pace of congregational death is accelerating.
The guests showed up, but they never returned. Has that ever happened in your church? You try to be friendly to first-time guests. But you never see them again. At times you wonder why they never returned.