17 Signs Your Church Might Be Dying

You may have already read these, but according to Barna, 3500-4000 churches close their doors every year… AND recently the Christian Chronicle just published a report saying that in the past nine years that church attendance has dropped by more than 100,000.

Just a few days ago I visited with a man that was very concerned about the church where he was attending. His exact words were, “We’re dying and the sad things is … some don’t care, and the others don’t know what to do about it!” He and I got to talking about some of the signs they were seeing that pointed to their church dying out. We made quite a list, and of course a few were tongue-in-cheek. I thought I might share a few with you today. Of course I’m no church growth expert, but I’d bet that most are generally true.  So, here are “17 Signs your Church may be Dying.”

  1. If your church does nothing to reach the community where it is located.
  2. If your church believes doing church is something that takes place inside the walls of the building on Sundays and Wednesdays … instead of outside the walls in the community during the week.
  3. If your church’s sermons are issue oriented or not relevant, instead of being relationship centered and Jesus focused.
  4. If your church is afraid of change, making changes and taking risks.
  5. If the only thing your community knows about your church is where it’s located.
  6. If the only thing that seems alive in your worship service is the greenery at the front of the auditorium.
  7. If the song you sing most on Sundays is, “Tis so sweet to Rust in Jesus,” or something close to it.
  8. If your worship is quiet because there are no children.
  9. If the only new members that are ever added to your church are people who have moved into the area … instead of people from your community.
  10. If your church is content with just keeping its heads above the water.
  11. If your church is out of touch with the current generation.
  12. If your church’s leadership’s motto is, “But we’ve never done it that way before.” 
  13. If your church has money in the bank that could be used to reach the lost and serve the poor, but it’s being saved for a rainy day or an emergency.
  14. If your church’s biggest fear is criticism.
  15. If your church’s leadership doesn’t set the tone, and is more concerned with supporting the system than shepherding the people.
  16. If your church promotes outreach as an option and not a necessity.
  17. If your church lives in the past not in the present.

Honestly … It makes me sad that the topic of churches dying is even a topic that is trending…

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: , Read 1164 articles by
12 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Every church in the U.S. that I’ve ever been with could be described by your list…except for the one my family’s part of now. It’s nice to be in a growing and lively fellowship.

  2. Jessica says:

    AMEN!!!

  3. B.J. Fowler says:

    When our pastor does something different he always jokes that he is breaking the 11th commandment ” Thou shalt not do anything different.”

  4. Lee Ann says:

    How convicting. We have been there, but I believe are emerging. Praise the Lord.

  5. [...] a list. I love lists. Have you noticed that before? Anyway, Trey Morgan shares with us “17 Signs Your Church Might be Dying.” There is some humor here, but a lot more [...]

  6. [...] 17 Signs Your Church Might Be Dying by Trey [...]

  7. Why did thousands of people flock to the early church? Not because of the ritual of worship, not because of the beauty of the building, and not because of the location, not because of the games. They came because the were desperate for the hope that knowing Christ has to offer for their daily lives and the future. We are desperate for the unfailing love of God and that flawless advice that we so desperately need and want. We need our daily bread (every word that comes from the mouth of God) and it is our children and teens deepest longing. When we see that clearly we’ll know what to do.

    • Thomas says:

      You’re right, I don’t think its been that clear from the pulpit, but I also think what it is to be a Christian actually knowing Christ has been down graded!

  8. Ed says:

    How about the fact that most churches just aren’t as offensive anymore, and thus, don’t have a revival somewhere, sometime during the week?

  9. [...] to read this, so it’s here in full, but give credit traffic where credit traffic is due and read this at Trey Morgan’s blog. You may have already read these, but according to Barna, 3500-4000 churches close their doors [...]

  10. Julie says:

    I was sharing this list with a friend and she had one to offer; If the church thinks your needs are only those it offers to meet. I’ve thought a lot about her addition to your list. What is the church’s roll specifically in your opinion? Is it to provide divorce care, meals following a funeral, parenting classes… If it provides (ha) workshops for married couples, is it then called to provide workshops for singles? :-) Is it to provide what it (the church leadership) thinks are important values, needs and not those that the community needs???? Still thinking about this list! Love it!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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