Autopsy of a Deceased Church – Thom S. Rainer (Notes taken from Bishop Danny Nelson’s Fall Leadership Summit Presentation)

In the United States there are approximately 400,000 churches…

10% Healthy           40% Symptoms of Sickness                   40% Sick                10% Dying

Top 10 Reasons for Death

1) Slow Erosion

Refusal of Self-Examination
Physical Facilities
Lack of Vibrant Ministries
No Outward Focus
Lack of Community Connections
Hopes, Dreams Dying
Resources Shrinking
Haggai 1:2-4

2) The Past is the Hero

People Couldn’t or Wouldn’t See Decline – No shifting past became the focus.
Conference Office Building – Unseen rotten wood revealed with storm damage.
When Someone Introduces Change – Response in anger and/or rejection.
“Good Ole Days” – The way it was
Failure to celebrate the past and build on it.
“We” become the focus.

3) Refusal to look into the community

A time when the church rejected the community
People die out, they move and a different community arises
Fortress; no penetration
Us in and them out
People don’t feel welcome
Dying Churches are pre-occupied with self-preservation.

4)  The Budget moved inward

Where is the $ spent?  Inward focus.
Staff: spend majority of time visiting, counseling, attending functions w/the members.
Expenditures keep the members comfortable.
Cuts are made in outreach ministries.
Dying Churches “spend” their way for “doing” church.
Dying Churches exists for its own needs.

5)  Great Commission becomes the Great Omission

Past – Hero – Symptoms – Sickness – Death
Methods become the focus rather than Great Commission
Remember when is fun and blessed; but don’t park there.
Matthew 28:19-20 Dominate word…. “GO”
Dying deceased churches somewhere cease to act
Somewhere they chose not to do and chose their own “comfort”
They want Great Commission to happen without prayer, sacrifice, or work.
They want new people to look and act and behave like them

6)  Preference – Driven Church

Me, Myself, and I
Focus: others to themselves
My music, style length, order
Philippians 2:5-11
Emptied Himself
Church membership is not a country club

7)  Pastoral Tenure

Pastor comes, a few changes are initiated, resistance, leave, cycle continues.
We “want” change if it fits “our” definition.
8)  The Church rarely prays together

Everybody prays, corporate, intentional, specifically, and meaningful?

9)  No Clear Purpose

Going through the motions.
“Doing” Church
No burning passion
It’s just the way we’ve always done it
Philippians 1:3-5
Forgot their purpose
“a church without a Gospel-centered purpose is no longer a church.”

10)  Obsessed over Facilities

Protecting the facilities
Protective over rooms
Jesus on things…  Matthew 6:19-21

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