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…

4 Things I Learned This Week…

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding…”~Proverbs 3:13

Life is about learning. Learning from mistakes, victories and others makes me a wiser and stronger person.  I’m always trying to learn things from everyday events. Little lessons hidden among daily events and activities. Some of the things I learn are beneficial and others are not. But as I see it … as long as I’m learning, I’m growing. So here are the things I’ve learned this week …

  • LESSON 1: If you’re going to go on your first EVER small plane ride, avoid eating a large bowl of spicy green-chili carne guisada just before boarding the plane. I’m not sure if it was the food or the the bouncing plane, but boy, nausea hit me about 45 minutes in and I was looking EVERYWHERE for something to get sick in. In a plane that small, it would have been ugly. We finally spotted a barf-bag about the size of a sandwich baggie. Holding it made me feel much better, but I kept looking at it and thinking, “There’s no WAY it’s all going to fit in the little bag.  Thankfully we landed, and I was able to keep all the food down. I loved the plane ride, but the terror of getting sick in my friend’s plane was more than I could imagine. I don’t know how many times I repeated in my head, “Thank you, Lord.”
  • LESSON 2: Don’t fret over things you pray about. I’m sure God gets tired of me asking for His help and then continuing to worry about the very thing I asked for help with. Yesterday I preached a sermon that was very tough. I said some things that dealt with our church family that I knew were going to be hard for some to hear. I debated all week, “Do I say it or do I leave it out?”  I said it … and it went over really well. God is good.
  • LESSON 3: Strong Marriage Workshops are meeting a need. We did our second marriage workshop in as many weekends. OKC two weeks ago and Silver City, NM this past weekend. With every one we do, we are seeing more and more how important healthy marriages are to making healthy families and healthy churches. Already this weekend I’ve had several new inquires about possible upcoming workshops. I don’t know how long we’ll continue to do these little weekend workshops, but we’re sure having fun doing them.
  • LESSON 4: Don’t talk Pinterest with your uninformed running buddy. Yip, many men still don’t understand that Pinterest isn’t just for women. We were 5 miles into a very tough 6 mile run.  We were gasping for air, trying to pass the time with chit-chat and trying not to die all at the same time. The conversation had been lacking the past mile, making the run seem harder … when the subject of high energy foods briefly came up. In my head I immediately remembered something I’d seen on Pinterest that week about a little energy packed snack called “energy balls.”  Right then in my exhaustion I made the mistake of saying, “Hey, (gasp, gasp) I saw a recipe on Pinterest this week that I need to make us…” Right then Randy’s pace slowed just a bit, he cut his eyes around at me and said, “PINTEREST? Serious? I don’t even know who you are anymore!” :)  We ran pretty much without talking the last mile.

Did you learn anything this week?

“I Just Want My Dad Back”

Yesterday morning after our church services a boy came up to me and said, “Can I talk to you for a second?” I told him to give me just a second and I’d be more than happy to talk.

He was about the same size as my 10 year old and I wasn’t sure I had ever seen him before. We went and sat down on a pew away from everyone else. Not having a clue what he wanted to talk about, I put my arm around him and said, “Okay, my friend … what’s up?”

He paused and said, “I’m just really sad right now.”  In my head my first thought was, “You’re a 10 year old kid … what do you have to be sad about … is your Xbox broke?” Instead he told me, “I’m just really missing my dad right now.  I’ve never been this far away from him and my family.” Realizing he was very serious, I asked him, “Where is your family, and why are you not with them?” 

He filled me in for the next couple of minutes. He explained to me that he had been placed in a boys home and didn’t know when he’d ever get to go back home. My heart broke right then.

I tried hard to share with him a little love and encouragement … and then he said it … his words that are still replaying in my mind this morning …. “You know, I have really cool stuff at my new home. I have toys, and I have video games … but I really just want my dad back.”  It was right at that moment that he began to weep uncontrollably.

I was struggling to hold back the tears now … so I pulled him in tight as he cried and his little body shook. I told him it was okay to cry and asked him if it was okay if I prayed for him.  He shook his head yes.  I asked God to bless him, his family, his dad and especially his new home where he was living how. When I finished he caught his breath and wiped the tears from his eyes. I asked him, “Are you going to be okay?”  He didn’t answer with words, but instead just shook his head yes.

As quickly as he’d walked into my world, he walked out … down the stairs and was gone. Right then, and again this morning, I took a second to say another prayer. I thanked God for those who minister to broken children … children’s homes, foster families and others who are willing to love hurting kids.

I’ve had the opportunity to help feed a lot of kids who were suffering physically from hunger. Yesterday I was reminded there that are a lot of kids in our world that are suffering emotionally. Please, Dear Lord …. help us to see them.

We’re Giving Away Another House … Augment Project #2

A year and a half ago we completed our first Augment Project (see it here). It was an old condemned house that we purchased very cheap and rebuilt for a lady in Childress who needed one. It was an awesome project that the whole community of Childress helped with.

In March of last year, we began our second house that we’ve called Augment Project #2. This house is MUCH bigger in size than the first because it will be given to a family of 6 that is currently living in a two bedroom rental. Here’s a few pictures to get you caught up…

Here’s the front of the house on day 1, March of 2011. The house had to be cleaned out and totally gutted.

After everything is gutted we’re down to bare floors and bare walls. Mike Henderson and John Henderson are discussing, “Where do we start first?” 

The house needed a new roof. A good turn out to help was essential. Matt, (third from the left) and his wife Leah, will be getting the home. Matt has done a great job putting in a LOT of sweat equity on this home.

Johnny Nail-Gun is hard at work.

Some very kind people volunteered to put up a privacy fence for their back yard.

Janet Word, principal at Childress Elementary School, helped paint. We’ve had people from all walks of life helping on this house … doctors, CEO’s, business owners, young, old, big and small … we’ve worked them all.

This was taken within the last few weeks. The new kitchen going in.

A pretty recent picture of the new front porch.

I took this yesterday. You can see the new waterlines going in.  The outside is almost done.

Our goal date on this house is to be totally finished and have an open house ceremony and walk through on March 18th … one year after the project began. The Augment Project has been a blessing to everyone involved.

They Curse, Cheat, Sleep Around, Get Drunk … and Then Invite Me to Church

I have a friend that’s not a Christian, but she’s very curious about my faith, my beliefs and Christianity. She didn’t grow up in any religion or church and knows very little about the bible. She often asks me questions about Christianity that are very simple, honest and sometimes down right painful. Sometimes her questions are very childlike such as, “Does it bother God when I curse?” and “Why is it wrong for me to hate someone?”

But it was her last question that she asked me that really set me back on my heels. She was totally serious when she asked … “Why is it that the Christians at my work place can be dishonest, sleep with someone in the office that’s not their spouse, ask me to get drunk with them at a party on Saturday … and then invite me to go to church with them on Sunday morning? Something about all that doesn’t seem to be right.”

Honestly, I was floored. Her simple, yet serious question was a slap in the face to the lifestyle of Christianity that Jesus taught and wants me to live. Her question was 100% serious. She wasn’t trying to bash what I believe OR rub my nose in professing Christian’s inconsistencies. She just didn’t understand it and wanted to know. None of it made sense to her … and honestly … none of it makes sense to me either.

I did my best to answer her … but it frustrated me knowing that all my words won’t have NEAR the impact on her that her co-worker’s actions will.

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

10 Stupid Lessons I’ve Learned In Life

You can’t iron your shirt while it’s still on your body without burning yourself. Took me twice to learn this one. Never have a cup of hot coffee between your legs when you’re being rude to your mother. God will see your error, cause you to spill your coffee and punish you with what I […]

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Dump Day 2012 is May 2nd

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR DUMP DAY 2012, PLEASE CLICK HERE! Dump Day 2012 is right around the corner (May 2nd). For the past three years we’ve helped raised money for the ministry that takes place at the dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Dump Day 2012 is necessary to replenish the dump fund because the dump fund […]

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Honduras Summer Mission Trip 2012

Just wanted to let you know some details on our summer mission trip to Honduras. We’ll be building houses, feeding the hungry, serving food to those in the dump, doing medical clinics … and MUCH more. DATES: The dates are June 29th – July 6th and flights are already booked. COST: $1600.00 If you want more […]

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I Dropped This Hint To My Wife … And I’m LOVING It.

First, I must make a confession … I’m on Pinterest (find me here). Yes, to my men friends … you may want to take my man-card, BUT to this point … Pinterest has been pretty good to me. Let me explain… Towards the end of the year, my wife was spending a lot of time […]

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Intimacy Killers in Marriage

Intimacy is both physical and emotional closeness in marriage. Being physically intimate is what leads to emotional intimacy and is what God talked about in Genesis 2 when he said, “… and the two (husband & wife) shall become one flesh.” Intimacy should be one of the strengths and cornerstones of your marriage. One of […]

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Skinny Dip’n at the Neighbors

I was riding around with my two youngest boys a while back when they said … “Dad, can we get a hot tub … we never get to hot tub?” My response was, “Boys, we don’t need a hot tub … we’ve got something better … we’ve got friends with hot tubs. Wanna go right […]

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What Do You Feed a Bunch of Texas Kids? How About 135 Biscuits!

The Morgan family had a great Christmas break. Two full weeks of playing, eating, visiting and having fun. As my kids get older, I’m beginning to realize that what makes Christmas special is not the gifts, but everyone getting to be home.  We were blessed to get to have Taylor home for a full 16 […]

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10 Marriage Resolutions

Spend more time together. Make a commitment to spend more time together this year. One of the best things you can do is commit to a weekly date night with your spouse. This may take you sitting down together with your spouse and planning out your schedule. Brag on your spouse regularly. Any old lame […]

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MORGAN’S 2011

‘Twas the night before Christmas and up before the sun, was Trey Morgan to get his morning run. The rest of us Morgan’s were all snug in our beds, while visions of the World Series still danced in our heads. The year 2011 brought lots of change and fun, and the Morgan Family found themselves always on the […]

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5 Great Christmas Gifts For Your Kids

Still trying to decide what to get your kids this year for Christmas? How about getting them something that will last a lifetime? Some of the best gifts my parents gave me weren’t gifts that came from a store, but gifts that came from their lives. Here are a few gifts my parents gave me […]

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My Best Christmas Gift This Year

Our Soldier is home for Christmas. A hug from Mom.

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I Don’t Speak Spanish, But I DO Speak Love…

I love my trips to Honduras, and I SO wish I could speak Spanish … but I can’t. While my Spanish is very limited, I do speak fluent Love. More and more I realize that Love is an international language that crosses all cultural, social and language barriers. I’m continually amazed how easy it is […]

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A Few Pictures and Stories from Honduras I’d Like You To See

Here are a few stories behind some of my pictures from my trip to Honduras last week. I had a hard time choosing which pictures to share, but here are a few. (BTW: You can see the others on Facebook with some more stories.) Anytime you take a picture of someone, they want to see […]

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Feeding Hungry People 2

We purchased about $1000 worth of beans, rice and food at the market and fed an entire village for a couple of weeks. What a great way to spend $1000.

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Feeding Hungry People

Beautiful children that were fed today in Bueno Samaritano today. Can’t wait to share more.

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Train Your Children … You Don’t Have Them Very Long

We’ve received three letters from Taylor to this point, and he’s doing very well in basic training and loving Army life. One of the things Taylor knew when he chose to enlist in the Army was that there probably wouldn’t be a lot of positive Christian influence there. Lea and I have prayed numerous times that […]

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13 Stupid Things That A Husband Should NEVER Do

Sometimes talking with our wives can be like navigating through a field loaded with dangerous landmines. Just one miscalculation or wrong answer and you can land in the doghouse. So on a Monday when you could use a little humor, here are 13 things you should never say or do to your wife or girlfriend. […]

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10 Things That Are Guaranteed to Happen Today on Thanksgiving

Much like a David Letterman’s Top 10 List … here are 10 things I can guarantee that will happen with our family Thanksgiving Day… 10. We’ll have WAY too much food. 9. Uncle Allen will tell at least 5 of the corniest one-liner jokes you’ve ever heard in your life. 8. Everyone will gather around […]

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Will You Really Spend “THAT” Much This Christmas?

Lea and I spent the day talking about the Black Friday deals we wish we could get. There were several things that caught our eye, but none were worth getting up at 3 a.m. on Friday to go get them. Seems like every year Lea and I talk about not spending “as much” on gifts […]

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Help With The Jesus Banquet and Get a HONDURAS HOPE Bracelet

(Help me spread the word on this by Tweeting this post or posting it on your Facebook.) In just three weeks I’ll be back in Honduras with a group of friends for what we call “The Jesus Banquet at the Dump.” On December 7th at the dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras something very special is going […]

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9 Things Being A Dad Has Taught Me About God

I love being a dad. One of the greatest accomplishments in my life is that I am the father of four amazing boys. One of my new struggle as a parent has been letting a son go into the Army, not because I didn’t want him to go, but because I won’t see or hear […]

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CHURCH JARGON FOR NEWBIES

It’s Monday … and I need a little humor.  Those who grew up going to church know all the special “church lingo” that goes along with going to church. But can you imagine what it’d be like for a seeker or new Christian to attend a worship service and hear a lot of terms and […]

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5 Things I’d Love To Tell Kim Kardashian About Marriage

I’m not a Kim Kardashian expert. I didn’t watch her wedding, I don’t follow her life on television, and I didn’t know much about her until this week. BUT… I did become interested in her when I read that after 72 days she was bailing out on her marriage and filing for divorce. The whole sad […]

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Real Men (and Women) Dote

“Dote” is not a word we use much anymore. In fact … I like the word pursue. But just so you’ll know … to “Dote” means: “to be lavish or excessive in one’s attention, fondness, or affection for.” Doting is pretty much what you did to win your spouse before you were married. I’m not […]

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Here is Why I Love Wednesdays

There’s not a Wednesday that goes by that I don’t think of my friends at the dump. This is their day… their day of the week to be fed. Every Wednesday my amazing friend Marc Tindall and a group of Christians make a trip to the Tegucigalpa dump in Honduras to feed hungry people who are […]

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Taylor … Army Strong

I’ve been doing my best to avoid writing this post. It’s not that I’m scared of it or that I’m ignoring it, it’s just that I didn’t want it to come … at least this quickly. For those of you that don’t know, our oldest son Taylor, leaves next week for Basic Training at Fort […]

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6 Things That Have Made Me A Better Minister

I’ve been doing ministry for about 25 years now. (Insert “old guy” joke here). In those 25 years, ministry techniques have come and gone. I’ve learned both good and bad ways to minister to people. There are plenty of things in the last 25 years that have and have not worked. Over the last few […]

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Overcoming Sexual Temptation

Here are a few things I found written down in an old journal this week that I’d like to share with you. Let’s start with a quiz. These aren’t trick questions, and they’re not hard. But play along if you will. Who was physically the strongest man in the Bible? (Samson) Who was the wisest […]

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Stupid Things Parents Say

Remember those cliches that came out of your parents’ mouths that made your skin crawl? If you are like most of us, you probably swore to yourself that you would never say “those things” to your kids. I can vividly remember thinking to myself, “I’m NEVER going to use that phrase with my kids,” but […]

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20 Years Ago Today …

I can’t believe that 20 years ago today, in a hospital in Childress, Texas … we had an amazing son named Parker.  Lea and I are blessed to have such an amazing kid. We have loved watching him grow up in physical and spiritual stature. Happy 20th Parker … we’re very proud of you.

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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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Trey Morgan
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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage and randomness.
  • 85% of the men sitting in prison grew up in homes without a father. More than ever kids need a dad these days. #BeThereDad
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  • Greatest horror film ever.. We'd need counselors on stand by to help people understand that "bacon really ISN'T gone."

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