Why Leaders Can’t See When Their Church is Dying

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The signs of terminal decline might be obvious. So why can't we see them?

Years ago, I was a church leader in an ill church, and I really didn’t even know it!

Certainly, I had my concerns about different issues and challenges that we were facing, and I threw my influence as far as it would go to help enliven the church, but never did I think that the church might be in a death spiral!

Now, many years later, I ask myself why I did not recognize the very obvious signs of terminal decline.

As I have searched my own soul, the following reasons seem to me to be why church leaders do not even sniff the rottenness that is corrupting the Body!

1. Too inexperienced.

Few of our church leaders are trained church leaders. They are usually excellent volunteers, but how many of you would let an excellent hospital volunteer examine and diagnose you? What if they couldn’t tell a mole from melanoma?

2. Too busy leading the church.

The more rapid the decline, the more work there is for those trying to keep it alive! It is hard to see imminent danger because of all the people that need your immediate attention.

3. Too optimistic.

Optimism — trust in God’s victory — is a highly desirable quality, but look at how difficult it was for Jesus to convince His closest disciples that He was going to die! Facing reality is also highly desirable.

4. Too invested.

Your family is in this church; your life-long friends are in this church; you grew up in this church! Unfortunately, none of these investments will save a declining church!

5. Too satisfied.

You have a great group! The building is paid for. Sure, you are a little smaller, but it is still alive for you!

6. Too comfortable.

It takes a lot of time and energy to change things. It is MUCH easier to just keep on doing what we have always done — and maybe it will work out!

Mark Woodward Mark Woodward and his wife Sherrylee are the founders and executive directors of the Let’s Start Talking Ministry. Mark also served as a missionary in Germany and a professor of English at Oklahoma Christian University. He is the author of Let’s Start Talking: A Strategy for World Evangelism and Raising Kids With A Heart For Missions as well as the General Editor of the FriendSpeak Series and the Sycamore Series, conversational tools for evangelism.

More from Mark Woodward or visit Mark at http://www.markwoodward.org

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