Ten reasons why churches stall

Here’s a great article in this month’s Evangelicals Now from Marcus Honeysett on why churches stall.

Here are some highlights to whet your appetite …

1. The church forgets who we are and what we are for … When we forget that we are the community of disciples for declaring God’s greatness and making disciples, mission quickly becomes just one among many activities rather than the defining vision of who we are as a community.

2. The majority of believers are no longer thrilled with the Lord and what he is doing in their lives. When questions like ‘What is God doing with you at the moment?’ cease to be common currency, it is a sure sign of creeping spiritual mediocrity.

3. … In my view, the single biggest cause of stalled churches in the UK is the belief that material comfort can be normative for Christians. It is the opposite of radical commitment to Christ.

4. When [Christians]  see church as one among many leisure activities, usually low down the priority list. They are unlikely to see the Christian community as God’s great hope for the world and unlikely to put commitment above self-interest.

5. … Where people take no personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth a stalled church becomes more likely.

6. … When preaching, teaching and Bible study become ends in themselves rather than means to an end, something is badly wrong.

7. A church becomes afraid to ask radical questions … The danger is that people start to equate serving the church with living out the gospel. Few churches regularly evaluate every aspect of church life against their core vision.

8. Confusing Christian activities with discipleship …

9. Not understanding how to release and encourage everyone in the church to use their spiritual gifts for the building up of the church … There are two types of DNA in churches. One type of church says ‘we exist to have our personal spiritual needs met’, the other ‘we exist to impact our locality and the world with the gospel of the grace of God in Christ’. The first type is a stalled church.

10. … No church was stalled at the point that it was founded. At the beginning all churches were adventures in faith and daring risk for God. No one actively decided for comfort over risk, but at some point the mindset shifted from uncomfortable faith and daring passion for the Lord to comfortable mediocrity … The mantra of the maintenance mindset is ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. But just like buying shoes for growing children, if structures don’t take account of future growth then fellowships end up stunted and deformed.

Marcus leads Living Leadership and the author Finding Joy purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US and Meltdown purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US.

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10 thoughts on “Ten reasons why churches stall

  1. Great post. I can often point to the church (as this non-personal entity) as the problem. But, most of these are heart issues within the individual members. As I feel that my church is stalled, it’s critical to look in the mirror and ask (#2), ‘Am I thrilled with what the Lord is doing in my life?’

    This article provides great challenging thoughts. Thanks!

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  3. Great post – and I absolutely agree about #3. There are too many churches out there that through the people they raise up into leadership, by example, or even from the pulpit/stage teach that being a good Christian means being middle class.

    The reality couldn’t be further from the truth – that following Jesus means downward mobility not upward mobility.

  4. Hello, James

    There is an interesting debate about what elements of following Jesus resemble middle-class culture. Tim addressed this at a New Word Alive session last year (and probably elsewhere). What do you reckon are good and bad bits of MC and non-MC culture?

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  6. Thnk you for reposting and summarising. I work in a church that uses the lectionary, so its Luke 4:1-13. I am so tired about preaching about temptation as a kind of individualised moral self-improvement trip. Your reposting and effective summarising has given me something to say about temptation, church and Britain. Thanks.

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