As I mentioned yesterday, I am reading a book entitled Autopsy of a Deceased Church 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive. This book is written by Thom Rainer who does much to share his ideas on church growth. I am going to recap a chapter a day to share a recap, a prayer, and three questions he asks at the end of each chapter.
We’ll start with his introduction.
He begins the introduction telling a story of a patient who he knew before she died. Her only hope was a radical change but she wasn’t ready for change, although very sick. She lived in denial, in fact angry denial.
The Autopsy she was a church, no longer had a vision although born out of a vision. She reached her peak in 1975 averaging 750 people. In his consultation he arrived they were averaging eighty-three and they did not want him there.
In his book he addresses fourteen church autopsies by summarizing what he found. This book has a copyright date of 2014 and in it he say 100,000 (1) churches in America are showing a decline.
Questions today but a prayer I will share with you from his book.
- If our church was given a “physical exam” today, what do you think the doctor’s diagnosis would be: Healthy, Slightly sick, Very sick, or Dying? Why?
2. Who do many church members in dying churches refuse to see the decline in the health of their church?
3. Explain how churches can die in the context of Matthew 16:18, which Hades will not prevail.
God, open my eyes that I might see my church as You see it. Let me see where change needs to take place, even if it is painful to me. And use me, I pray, to be an instrument of that change whatever it cost.
- This number is based on the foundational research for his book entitled Breakout Churches.