Death of a church

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Walls, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. Walls

    Walls
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    802
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my years of being saved, I have witnessed several churches that were young and flourishing, to only in a matter of a couple of years, do an about face and dwindle down to nothing almost/or to the point of non existance. I was just wondering if anyone else has seen this and what causes this. The pastors always say it is the people and the people say it is the pastor. What do you think?
     
  2. Loren B

    Loren B
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2000
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    0
    As Dr. Lee Roberson of Tennessee Temple has always said, "Everything rises and falls on leadership."
     
  3. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    One can lead an horse to water, but cannot make it drink. So it is with leadership.

    Each situation will have its own unique circumstances, and it is impossible to speculate why this happens.

    If a minister allows a congregation to form around his ministry it will eventually fail. If the people follow the leader, the same results.

    This shows the importance of building on the firm foundation; the Rock, the Lord Jesus Himself and His word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    A church is more than just a program of events. It is dependent upon the people and the pastor.

    Near where I live I am watching an entire area gown down spiritually. It is an area where it is very expensive to live and people are coming from other areas so they can retire. People come because of the weather not for spiritual reasons. North of that city is another town where the churches are growing and doing much better.

    In the area where I lived as a child the churches were poor spiritually but are doing very well now. They are alive more now than I had ever seen.

    It is not all leadership. It is also the response of the people too. My first church was a small group of people who in a three week period lost the building they were meeting in, their pastor and most of the congregation. But they wanted to keep the church alive and grow. When I met with them the first time, it was clear that it would be tough but the people left were great. They didn't know much or had done much of any kind of ministry. I took them down the road of teaching them to do discipleship. We eliminated most of the programs. In place of programs we started some home Bible studies. I took them out and showed them how to meet people by knocking on doors. God blessed that time. We prayed and God did amazing things. People came just to help. When I would ask them about why they came it was usually the same answer. They had heard about what we were trying to do. Out of all those Christians who came to help I had not met one of them before. One of them was involved with a Billy Graham crusade. A couple had eleven years of experience with youth. Another started two Bible studies in the area. He had never led a Bible study until that time. He was in a study I led. We saw the people begin to reproduce themselves. We saw people in the community come to Christ. We saw the Christians come alive.

    Some of the churches I have started have done well and others have not. The people must want to grow spiritually. An older pastor once told me that it has a lot to do with how the area was settled. How it was settled affects the people's attitude in the area.
     
  5. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    gb, isn't response and desire to grow leadership-driven? (In addition to the Holy Spirit, of course.) If leadership is not strong and is not clear in its position, doesn't the congregation sense a lack of direction?
     
  6. HeDied4U

    HeDied4U
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    10
    Fifteen causes for the spiritual death of churches...

    A church will die when:

    1) It is more concerned with buildings and budgets than with benevolence (Galatians 6:10).

    2) It is more concerned with the traditions of men instead of the truth of God (Matthew 15:3,9; John 8:32).

    3) It is more concerned with programs than with people (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

    4) It is more concerned with what it keeps than with what it gives away (2 Corinthians 8:1-7).

    5) It is more concerned with land than with love (Acts 4:34; 5:5).

    6) It is more concerned with what is fashionable instead of what is faithful (Romans 12:1-2).

    7) It is more concerned about the accumulation of fortune instead of the action of fellowship (2 John 9-11; 3 John 4-8).

    8) It is more concerned with the methods of men instead of the mercy of God (Matthew 23:23-27).

    9) It is more concerned with saving face instead of saving faith (James 2:1-26).

    10) It is more concerned with fussing and friction rather than friendliness and forgiveness (Galatians 5:15-26).

    11) It is more concerned with being sensational and dynamic instead of being sound and disciplined (2 Corinthians 10:1-7).

    12) It is more concerned with heaping up instead of helping out (Matthew 6:19-20; 25:31-46).

    13) It is more concerned with a religion of worldly, pompus ceremony instead of one based on a proper relationship with Christ (Matthew 23:1-39).

    14) It is more concerned with picking at one another instead of praying for one another (Luke 15:21-32; James 2:14-17; 5:16).

    15) It is more concerned with holding back instead of reaching out (Matthew 28:18-20).

    --------------------------

    God Bless!!!

    Adam [​IMG]
     
  7. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    0
    Guess what folks.....we can read our Bibles. The seven churches of Rev. were told to repent or suffer the consequences. Get it? ----Bible?

    Thanks ------Bart
     
  8. Roy

    Roy
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/0710.gif>

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2001
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    0
    HeDied4U:

    "Fifteen Causes" looks like a valid list. I was once part of a church (not a Baptist church) that spent itself out of existence, and I think that 11) It is more concerned with being sensational and dynamic instead of being sound and disciplined (2 Corinthians 10:1-7). was the primary factor at work there.

    The pastor would present a costly "need" to the church and would remind us that God is bigger than X-amount of dollars. We would blindly ralley and go along with it.

    Looking back, I can see that we should have been looking at Christ's warning to Satan, when He said, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

    Live and learn!

    Roy
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    gb, isn't response and desire to grow leadership-driven? (In addition to the Holy Spirit, of course.) If leadership is not strong and is not clear in its position, doesn't the congregation sense a lack of direction? </font>[/QUOTE]I have been extremely clear in the direction I wanted to take a church in each one I pastored. Nobody has ever acused me of not knowing where I am going. This year wil make 30 years that I have been discipling people. Some people are just plain lazy and some are eager to grow. Some are not willing to step out in faith and others are eager to see what God has.

    In Rev. 2 and 3 we see churches that are sick and some are doing well. We need to remind ourselves of Judas and Jesus. Judas could not have had better leadership but he did not follow. I am convinced that the majority of American chruches are playing church. The average Christian has never led anyone to Christ. Imagine the early church growing like that!

    How's this for leadership in an SBC church in Utah: The pastor had a couple come to him who had been to three other churches first. They were new believers who had come out of Mormonism looking for a church. Three pastors told them they didn't want them. But this young pastor was excited about having them. He used them to teach the congregation to witness to Mormons. The church grew from about 75 to alomost 600 in six years. At the end of six years the deacons asked him the resign.

    People who are never taught to accept responsibility for their actions always blame someone else for their problems. Certainly you were once a student and watched how each student responded to the teacher. So it is with people in church.

    When I taught high school I quickly found out that if I had a problem with a student in almost every case I had an even worse problem with the parent. When I was a child if I got in trouble I also got in trouble at home. But today they blame the teachers and school. When I was in school the teacher might pull out the board and use it. But today parents complain because students give homework. Students go to school to work and learn not to have fun. I have never found study to be anything less than work. But the rewards are great. I studied furnituremaking under a man who has some of his work in the Smithsonian Institute, Every year at the school where he once taught and founded, they have to remove one or two students because the student comes with a critical attitude and not one of learning. The teacher I studied unbder was one of the best in the world. Yet there were always students who came their to critique his work and not learn. I noticed that it was always the poorest students who came with a critical attitude and were not there to learn. This man had students from all over the world to learn. It is about self-discipline.

    When I was a student studying in the seminary I saw the same attitudes displayed. I saw great teachers who were critiqued by some of their students. I actually saw a student whose aim was to prove the teacher wrong. One day the student asked him for his sources. The teacher listed each and the pages numbers. The student sat down and never said a word again. The student did not come to the teacher with a humble attitude and he was humbled. I have seen students get something quite wrong at that same teacher showed great grace.

    The issue is not about do I or someone else disagree with the pastor. It is about supporting him and helping him to be a better pastor. It's about helping him to joyfully pastor. Scripture tells the pastor he has a responsibility to those he serves and it tells the congregation it has a responsibility to the pastor. I have seen great leaders who could do little and I have seen poorer leaders who were made great by the people who follow. We cannot put the success or blame all on one person or group of persons. It is about everyone working together for the advancement of the kingdom.
     
  10. Walls

    Walls
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    802
    Likes Received:
    0
    You all have said truth I think it is combination and not one inparticular.

    Jer 23:1 says, Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

    We have seen devoted servants leave a church where the were brow beaten and told that they weren't right with God because the weren't serving the Lord in the way that they dictated.

    Rev 3:15 says, I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    We have also seen people(including those in office) within the church who refuse to live according to scripture, but think they are doing a favor by showing up for church or having a form of religion in their lives but never coming from the heart.

    In addition to the above, it is God that ordains offices within the church and those must be fulfilled. Without the proper balance, everything is onesided. You can't blame the preacher if you have active elders within the church that are truly overseeing and know the Bible. You can't blame the people if you have teachers who are teaching the entire Bible and not just picking parts here and there.

    And above all, the people within the church should, if they have a problem with a brother follow Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
    16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    And Lord willing you will gain a brother!! And have harmony within the church and not strife and contention.
     
  11. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    Our church was founded in 1958 and has slowly been dwindling over the years... We now have four members left and are still going strong... We have help from sister churches who visit us from time to time but over the years we went from a church 100 strong to 4 today.

    You may say to yourselfs that church is dying but to the contrary we are keeping on and serving the Lord the best we can and waiting on the Lord. We have no deacons as all have died but we do have those visiting who can fill the need. I am the church clerk and only male member but we share the church with a black congregation of our belief and use their minister at our meetings along with a pastor of our choosing.

    We know exactly what that scripture means that states where two or three are gathered together in my name their am I in the midst. I will be leaving the church April of next year when I get married because I have to move where my wife lives and will be selling my home to move into hers. There will be three remaining members and me but I will be a ways away and can't attend like I use to. Will the church die?... To the contrary the three remaining sisters one my Mother want to keep meeting. Three ladies that don't believe in throwing in the towel... The Lord is always in the worship service no matter how large or small the congregation... I feel that he is with the smaller group greater that he is with the larger groups as all they depend on is the Lord... That is the only reason they come... IMHO that's my belief!... Three sisters showing what faith really is and how much they love the Lord and his church! [​IMG] ... To each his own... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  12. Walls

    Walls
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    802
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aah Bro. Glen,

    That is a great testimony. Where we are going to church now, there is only five families. And we come together because of the Lord and for each other. There is no alterior motive, there aren't any people pleasers, just born again people wanting to come together to praise the Lord and learn more about him and his word. It is truly wonderful to come to the house of God knowing that your every move isn't going to be critized or that your growth and walk in the Lord isn't going to detoured.

    Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. May the Lord bless it and keep you both! [​IMG]
     
  13. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looking at the early church that is written about in Acts, I don't know how we can honestly say that a church that is satisfied with the number of people they have can be considered a healthy church. I just don't see anywhere in Scripture that this is the case. Am I missing something?
     
  14. Kiffin

    Kiffin
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,191
    Likes Received:
    0
    The problem with most Baptist churches is they think they have hired a pastor to do the work the congregation should be doing. Most think that Evangelism and visiting the sick is the primary job of the pastor despite the New Testament priority that the pastor's primary job is teaching, preaching, prayer. Many times churches think a new pastor will fix all their problems. What has taken 20 or 30 years to mess up will not be fixed in 1 to 5 years however. For many Baptist churches the pastor cannot lead them. He is just a figure head leader battling an old guard that views the Church as "our church".

    Most churches die because of the membership not taking responsibilty, power control by certain members, members not doing personal evangelism, family churches not wanting new members, older members hostility to younger members in leadership roles, and a failure to pass on the faith to the next generation. Pastors are good scapegoats for the deaths of Churches but in most cases it is the congregation's neglect of the Church over a period of years.
     
  15. Walls

    Walls
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    802
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you might have missed what was being said. It is a terrible thing to have so few in church, but also a blessing to have members who aren't just playing church.
     
  16. amixedupmom

    amixedupmom
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    I like Jim's Reply (the one WAYYYYYYYYY up there). And I very much agree with him. If a church is founded on a human ..... it'll fail. Cause we all fail. If it's founded on God. It will never die. God is perfect. WE are not.
     

Share This Page

Loading...