Monday, June 10, 2013

Parable of a Declining Church

You Write the Ending

There once was a new church in which the people worked hard to reach others for Christ.  They called their first pastor, bought land, built buildings and focused on worship and Sunday School as a means for growth; and grow they did!  As they grew, they thought, “Let’s add more activities and events.  Surely this is good!”  So they got busy planning golf tournaments, men’s events, women’s weekend retreats, children’s sports camps, youth retreats, and a host of other activities.  They added church staff and became very involved in missions activities.  As they looked at all they were doing they said, “We are doing so good; look at what we have become!”

After a few fast-growing years, the church began to plateau. They talked about the priority of Sunday School, but they focused the majority of their energies toward maintaining all the other church activities.

Guests were still attending, people were joining, but somehow they never found their way to Sunday School.  People began to ask, “Why aren’t we growing? We keep adding people, where are they going?”

Because of the flurry of church activities, it was decided that a focused evangelism plan was no longer effective.  They felt that an emphasis on anything other than relational evangelism was no longer culturally relevant.

They then felt that, since Sunday School was not growing, the problem must be the curriculum. "Let’s just let teachers teach what they want to," they said. But, were their teachers really teaching God’s Word?  Nobody really knew for sure because the teachers were teaching whatever they wanted to teach.

Now, five years later, the church that was moving forward had begun to decline.  What was this church going to do now?  They decided they would simply focus on taking care of those who were already in the building—providing all types of programs and activities. They thought, “Maybe these were all God planned to bring down our path.” So, now their focus was on keeping everyone busy, servicing their needs, but never really expecting anything more than what they already had.

How do you think this story will end?