Autopsy of a Dying Church Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Today is our fifth installment from Thom Rainer’s Autopsy of a Deceased Church – 12 ways to Keep Yours Alive. I will share his thoughts as presented in his book for our consideration.

His title for this chapter is The Great Commission Becomes the Great Omission. Most of what I am writing are direct quotes from his little book that says so much.

“Some churches begin with a great heart and a great effort toward the Great Commission. But the methods used become the focus rather than the Great Commission. The Great Commission becomes the Great Omission.” This is a place we do not want to ever get to.

“Nostalgia can be good. It can be fun and healthy. We can’t relieve the past, and we can’t recreate the past. Our autopsy revealed a lot nostalgia about the growth of the church.”

“There are a number of New Testament passages where Jesus sends out His followers.” He then lists a familiar one Matthew 28:19-20. “The imperative here is to go. The deceased church, somehow in its history forgot to act on the great Commission.”

Could this be because to church failed to act to go? His point in order to grow the kingdom we must “Go.” It will take effort; it will receive rejection but that is no reason to avoid the mission or to simply not go in the first place.’

“As I looked at the deaths of fourteen churches, I saw a common pattern. Obedience to the Great Commission faded: it usually faded gradually. Perhaps it would be more truthful to say these dying churches had “Great Commission” disobedience.” That comment hurts since that is what we are supposed to be doing giving what we have received away.

“Members of a dying church weren’t willing to go into the community to reach and minister to people. They weren’t willing to invite their unchurched friends and relatives. They weren’t willing to expend the funds for a vibrant outreach.”

“They just wanted it to happen. Without prayer. Without sacrifice. Without hard work.

Lord, remind me I am to be a Great Commission Christian in a Great Commission church. Remind me that, in your strength, I am to do whatever it takes to reach out into my community with the transforming power of the gospel.


  1. Why do most dying churches have members who are nostalgic about the “good old days”? What are the biblical implications of that mindset?
  2. Look at and describe the different parts of Matthew 28:19-20. Is our church more obedient or disobedient to those biblical commands?
  3. What is the relationship between Jesus’ promise to always be with us in Matthew 28;20, and a mind-set that focuses on one’s own comfort?

Published by Pastor Larry

I came to Asbury in June 2020 right after COVID and enjoy being in this great church. We have several things going on that can be seen on our website @ We invite you to attend our service at 2704 South Highway W in Foley, MO. I am confident you will be blessed.

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