Autopsy of a Deceased Church Chapter 10

Chapter 10 –

Today is our tenth 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.

“The Church Had No Clear Purpose”

I believe we have a purpose but I feel we must pursue it more diligently. There is no doubt that everyone wants the church to grow but everyone is on board to accomplish it. If you cannot get out to get into the community, can you pray and lift those involved in getting out there?

Thom Rainer tells the story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team. He writes their mission ws to “play for the United States.” It may have been the greatest moment in US history.

He talks about churches who are dying or are dead did not know their purpose. Here are some comments left by those in a dead church:

  • “We were going through the motions.”
  • “Everything we did seemed to be like we were in a rut or bad routine.”
  • We became more attached to our ways of doing church than we did asking the Lord what He wanted.
  • “We were playing the game called church. We had no idea what we were really doing.”
  • We stopped asking what we should be doing for fear it would require too much effort or change.”

The church was not a church it was simply going through the motions. It had no purpose. “None of the members asked what they should be doing.”

Philippians 1:3-5 tells us our purpose. They knew what to do they were to live the Gospel, proclaim the Gospel, partner in the Gospel in other words everything they did was Gospel centered.


God, reignite the hearts of our church members, including me, to have a passion for the gospel. Teach our church to share the Gospel with others. Teach is to live as men and women who are true bearers of the good news of Jesus Christ. Remind us of our purpose. Convict us of our purpose. Empower us to live our purpose.

Questions –

  1. Explain the need for dying churches to regain their purpose.
  2. How can routine and tradition get in the way of a church fulfilling her purpose?
  3. What did Paul mean in Philippians 1:3-5 when he thanked the church for her partnership in the gospel?

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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