Friday, April 26, 2013

Autopsy of a Dead Church: 11 Lessons Learned

Autopsy of a Dead Church: 11 Lessons Learned
I was their church consultant in 2003. The church’s peak attendance was 750 in 1975. By the time I got there the attendance had fallen to an average of 83. The large sanctuary seemed to swallow the relatively small crowd on Sunday morning.
The church is now closed. This article strikes home to me because of the history of my wife's church. When I first went to Carr UMC with her in 1977, average weekly attendance was 350, perhaps even a little more.  In 2008, she and I returned on a particular date so she could go with her father and sister to the church's last service before it disbanded. Average attendance had fallen to 17.

Why? For most of the same reasons that writer Thom Ranier identifies in his autopsy, which I will simply list here and urge you to read in full.

1. The church refused to look like the community. 

2. The church had no community-focused ministries. 

3. Members became more focused on memorials. 

4. The percentage of the budget for members’ needs kept increasing. 

5. There were no evangelistic emphases.

6. The members had more and more arguments about what they wanted. 

7. With few exceptions, pastoral tenure grew shorter and shorter. 

8. The church rarely prayed together. 

9. The church had no clarity as to why it existed. 

10. The members idolized another era. 

11. The facilities continued to deteriorate. 

Think about them and read the article.

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