Here is the second installment from 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.
Today we look at chapter 1 it is entitled “Slow Erosion.”
He says it is difficult for a long-term church member to see the erosion within his church. Growth comes rapidly but decline is much slower. I believe in many cases we turn a blind eye to what is around us because we simply do not see the change occurring.
He writes “that often decline is in the physical facilities, but it is more than that. The decline is in vibrant ministries that once existed. The decline is in the prayer life of its members who remain. The decline is in the outward focus of the church. The decline is in the connection with the community. The decline is in the hopes and dreams of those who remain. Decline is everywhere in the church, but many do not see it.”
What he says is very true, a church that loses it outward desire tor each people becomes inwardly focused and when that happens we no longer make disciples.
Over twenty-five hundred years ago the people of God neglected building the house of God. It seems as though slow erosion was a problem then also. God didn’t like it then, He still doesn’t according to Rainer.
God, please let me be a part of the solution and not the problem. Show me what I need to see. Open my eyes to your reality. And give me strong courage to move forward in the directions You desire.
Questions form Thom Rainer:
- What was this church like twenty years ago verses today? Talk with others to get an honest assessment. Do you see any signs of gradual erosion?
- How is the neglect of building the temple described in Haggai 1 like gradual erosion today?
- What do you think God meant in Haggai 1:9 by the phrase “while each of you is busy with his own house?”