From the Pastor's Desk

Mike Winfree, Pastor


"Autopsy of a Deceased Church"

by Pastor Mike Winfree on May 3, 2013

Dear Church Family,

   Recently I read an article by Thom Rainer, CEO of Lifeway Resources. It was entitled "Autopsy of a Deceased Church". He tells of a church that had peaked at 750 in attendance in 1975. He was asked to come to the church as a consultant because it had declined to 83 in attendance. He worked with the church for three weeks.

   Mr. Rainer says in his article: "The man who invited me to come asked me, 'What do you think?'" I replied, "This church will be dead in five years." I was wrong. It took 10 years and now the doors are closed.

   There is a prediction that 100,000 churches are on this same course. What can we learn from this church? What was the cause of death? Tom Rainer gives eleven things as the cause.

  1. The church refused to look like the community. They had no desire to reach those in the community.
  2. The church had no community-focused ministries...Nothing to let people know the church was there.
  3. Members became more focused on memorials. Memorials are not bad, but they were an obsession for this church.
  4. The % of the budget for members' needs kept increasing. At it's death, it was at 98%. No money for missions, outreach or staff.
  5. There were no evangelistic emphases. They had lost their passion for the lost. That is why we exist.
  6. The members had more and more arguments about what they wanted. Their focus turned inward on themselves.
  7. With few exceptions, pastoral tenure grew shorter and shorter. They had 7 pastors in their last 10 years.
  8. The church rarely prayed together. When there was prayer, it was all about them.
  9. The church had no clarity as to why they existed. There was no vision, no mission, no purpose.
  10. The members idolized another era. All they could do was look back to waht they used to have.
  11. The facilities continued to deteriorate. They failed to look at their facilities with outsider eyes.

   As sad as this report is, I thank God that we are not headed there. We must be aware of what causes a church to die and avoid those things like we would a plague! Let's pray for churches that are headed down this road. Let's be aware of all God wants us to do, and do it.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike