While church-planting continues in earnest all across the country – there are thousands of older churches closing their doors every year. In my observation of struggling churches I am beginning to see a pattern that slows ministry progress – and sometimes brings it to a grinding halt.
I’m talking about the “3 C’s” that kill churches.
C#1 – Comfort
Whenever you take a quick “hands up” survey at churches and ask how many people don’t like change – typically it is a vast majority of the congregation. While I understand that we say we don’t like change – we actually adapt fairly well – with the exception of church.
Most of Americans have been able to move from a rotary phone to a push-button phone to a cell phone. We’ve also been able to adjust from big ol’ console TVs to table top TVs to flat screen TVs. We’ve also dealt pretty well with the change from cooking with gas to cooking with electric – to heating food in the microwave.
But for some reason many people struggle with change in their church. When you walk into some churches it could easily be 2006, 1996, or even 1976. And the reason change is so difficult for us is because we crave comfort. But God didn’t call us to comfort – He called us to deny ourselves and die to ourselves for the sake of the Gospel.
C#2 – Committees
The idea is noble. Serve on a church committee. And while I’m sure there are some wonderful committees out there – my experience has been that committees tend to plan what *other* people are going to do. Too often church members have exchanged ministry for meetings. And that is not what we’re called to do. Jesus told us to “go” and “make” disciples. Action over talking.
Meetings for planning and strategy are a necessary part of church work – but I contend the best way to do things is: fewer meetings with fewer teams – and then get up and get something done!
C#3 – Constitutions
Writing a church constitution is a laborious activity. The local church needs one. However, in my experience, far too many constitutions end up inhibiting ministry rather than advancing it.
A constitution needs to be document designed to give working parameters to leaders in the church. It should not be so complicated that you need an attorney to understand it or that in order to move ministry forward it takes 3-4 committee meetings and multiple church votes.
There are any number of issues that plague the average church today – but comfort, committees and constitutions are the three things I see most often slowing ministry down.
My prayer is that church leaders will begin to understand and make the necessary adjustments to move past these church growth roadblocks.