Churches dying a slow death

Tony Morgan had a great post over the weekend. It starts with this quote from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book “Rework”:

“When you stick with your current customers come hell or high water, you wind up cutting yourself off from new ones. Your product or service becomes so tailored to your current customers that it stops appealing to fresh blood. And that’s how your company starts to die.”

Read Tony’s thoughts here…

I think Tony makes a great point.  When a church slips into maintenance mode, and is more concerned about maintaining ministry than reaching people, a little part of the church dies.

The root cause… if you really dig down to it… for death in most churches:  inward focus.

It’s like an ingrown toenail.  You don’t even notice it at first, but the pain it brings makes itself known over time; and before you know it… you’ve got a painful and serious situation on your hands.

I have this theory.  Most churches don’t die from a sudden heart attack.  It’s not sudden AT ALL.  And many times you can’t put your finger on what went wrong.  It’s hard to go back and actually define the origin of the problem.

I think most churches die a slow death… one that starts with simple decisions that may make sense.  Decisions to protect the flock.  Decisions to make things a little easier.  Decisions to make or keep people happy.  Decisions to hide or keep people from embarrassment.  Decisions to cut corners or bury your head in the sand, thinking, hoping, (and even) praying that things get better.

Here’s the problem:  churches can do that for short periods of time and get away with it, but the problem always grows.

And by the time many church leaders even know there’s a problem… it’s too late.

What do you think of my theory?  Too simplistic?  Altogether wrong?

Is YOUR church dying a slow death?  If so… what are you doing about it?



  1. Charles Roberts
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  2. susan
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