6 Signs Your Church Is Dysfunctional


Ed Stetzer shares six warning signs that your church may be unhealthy.

In recent months, I have run across several people in unhealthy Christian churches and organizations.

Having worked in some such settings myself, I have seen patterns that led me to start thinking…and writing. Maybe that is not such a good idea, but I think it is an important one. The issue continues to grow and, although such organizations can actually do good, the harm they cause to many others is immeasurable.

I started thinking about writing this article when a couple I know was approached about working at a prominent Christian organization. They expressed appreciation of how much good is done by this organization.

Yet, they were not interested because they knew people who worked there. And although everyone who worked there would readily say God was doing great things, they also used two phrases regularly: “we’re miserable” and “around here, you just keep your head down and do your job.”

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And therein lies the quandary of the dysfunctional Christian organization: it often does good things on the outside while destroying the soul of those on the inside.

So, how do you know if your Christian organization or church is dysfunctional? Let me share some signs I have observed:

1. The church or organizational culture does not value those serving, just those leading and the function of the organization.

When ministry leaders see people as tools rather than partners, the end result is that people are used to serve the purpose rather than being part of the purpose. They are the tools, but they don’t matter– only the leaders matter.

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Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.

Ed on ChurchLeaders   Ed's Website

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