The Number One Reason Churches Decline
Alan Danielson offers a helpful challenge to keep the mission of the church at the center of what we do.
The number one reason churches plateau and decline is that they’ve lost their outward focus.
Church can easily become about what the existing congregation wants, instead of thinking about and serving people beyond the church walls. To combat this, church members must remember what originally made their church great. Was it the music, the programs, the schedule, the dramas, the preaching, or the kids’ ministry that made their church great?
Those things were inspiring, excellent, and fun, but they are not what made the church great.
The thing that made them truly remarkable was the mission.
The mission of the church can be summed up in two key parts:
1. Reaching people for Christ.
2. Leading them to be fully devoted to him.
Let us remember that our churches do not exist for us.
Our churches exist for the lost. Our churches are not here to make us (the believers) happy, meet our needs, satisfy our desires, or affirm our opinions. Our churches are here to reach people who are desperately far from God.
As church members, we must all ask ourselves some tough questions. What do I not like about my church? What if the very thing I don’t like is the thing that will reach people for Jesus? What do I love most about my church? What if the very thing I like most is the thing that is a barrier to reaching people for Christ?
Am I willing to support changes that I don’t like? Am I willing to lay down my preferences and opinions for the sake of people who are lost?
I’m not saying that our own desires automatically contradict our mission. I’m saying that we must be diligent to never allow our desires to supersede the mission. What should we want more than seeing people come to faith in Christ?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Let all of us lay our wants, desires, opinions, and preferences on the altar. Let us continually sacrifice the notion that church is here to “meet my needs.” Let us give our all for the sake of those who need Christ’s love.