Below is a list of 11 items the book “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” by Tom S. Rainer. I have re-quoted them as warning signs for us to use as a self evaluation of our churches.
- Refuse to look like the community. Has the community transition over the years and has the church members continued to reach the new residents. The congregation should not be an island (different) from the community.
- Have no community-focused ministries. Is there an ongoing attempt to reach the community.
- Focused on memorials. Value the past and concerned more about tradition of church appearance such as were chairs, tables, rooms, and other places where a neat plaque could be placed than on welcoming visitors.
- Percentage of the budget for Maintenance instead of Ministry. Needs to be a balance, but there must be a ministry focus.
- No evangelistic emphases. Has church lost its passion to reach the lost, if so the the congregation begins to die.
- Is there more and more arguments. As the church continued to decline toward death there becomes an inward focused. Arguments are more frequent; business meetings became more acrimonious.
- Has Pastoral tenure become shorter and shorter. How many pastors have the church had in past twenty years and what is the trend?
- Prayed together. What is the focus of our prayers are they always limited to members, their friends and families, and their physical needs or they outward focused toward community and Kingdom?
- Clarity as to why it existed. Do we have an understanding of our vision, mission, and purpose?
- Live in the “here and now”. Let us not idolize the past nor focus on a specific group of members, but be creative in reaching the community (all ages) .
- Facilities deteriorating. Make sure that we continue to have “outsider eyes” and try to understand how visitors would view our facility and form a negative opinion of us.
On this website not only will you find tools, resources, and information on how to evaluate the condition of your church, but also tools, resources and information on how to bring your church back to a healthy state.
Under “Resources” in the menu above are links/information on a number of good resources. A number of experts advise churches to use an outside advisor/coach to serve as their accountability partner, monitoring, encouraging and giving feedback to them through out the process. Churches, leaders, and members are all creatures of habit and in our sinfulness and stuckness we tend to avoid the tough stuff. Someone to support you as an adviser or Coach is an indispensable part of the hard task of revitalization.
Click on: Online CoachingQuick Church Health Exam