Autopsy of a Deceased Church Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Today is our seventh 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.

Today The Preference Driven Church.

“It was eight years before the death of the church of the church, but few in the room would have predicted the church’s demise. The church bounced back a bit during the last year. Since most of its members would not allow any contemporary elements in the very staid and traditional style at 11:00 AM some younger adults started their own contemporary service at 8:30. Bible study classes fit in between the two services. It was not really contemporary by today’s standards. It was more a blended service.

He writes the new service provided the first growth the church had seen in two decades the new service adding thirty people so the church had a five year high of ninety-two in attendance. The younger adults invited friends to the 8:30 service but they said it would be better to have a later service. “The solution was simple move the tradional to 8:30 the contemporary to 11:00 it required a church vote.”

He says “there were 150 people in attendance that included members who had not been in church in five years or more. That included people who most others did not know. Members recruited others in to vote not to change.”

One member “declared he would let the church die before that change was made. He got his way eight years later. The vote was not close.”

“A significant number of the members moved the focus from others to themselves. A church cannot survive long-term where members are focused on their own preferences:

  • My music style,
  • My desired length and order of the service,
  • My desired color and design of the building,
  • My activities and programs,
  • My need of ministers and staff,
  • My, my, my.

The scriptures contain many references to a Christ like attitude – Philippians 2:5-11. “We are to be servants. We are to be obedient. We are to put others first. A church by definition is a body of believers who function for the greater good of the congregation.”

Prayer –

Lord, open my eyes to the needs of others. Show me how to live more like your Son, who always put others interests first. And especially show me that attitude as I serve in my church.

Questions –

  1. What are some unfortunately common areas where church members insist or demand their own preferences? Why do you think that happens?
  2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and relate the passage to how we have the right attitudes and actions in our church.
  3. Read Philippians 2:5-11 and compare the attitude of Christ with the attitude of a selfish and entitled church member.

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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