Where I live, dozens of large old church buildings that used to hold thriving congregations strewn along a major avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. Some have been torn down and developed, while others are supported by social programs and/or rentals from other congregations. As I ponder this, I have come to the conclusion that there are ten primary reasons established churches eventually fail.
The past four decades of working with churches, as well as overseeing a network of churches, has taught me several lessons related to the success and failure of churches. In this article I will try to pinpoint several salient issues related to both church plants that can make or break them. (I also speak in the context as someone who has planted and overseen a local congregation since 1984.)
The book of Acts grants us a snapshot as to the power and effectiveness of the first century church that transformed the world. I believe we are still called to extrapolate principles from the early church in order to fulfill our mission. One of the things that most of us take for granted is the dependence upon modern methodologies and assumptions we deem absolutely necessary today to have a successful church.
However, sometimes what we deem necessary may prove to be a stumbling block in our quest for exponential, explosive church growth.
A prophetic culture is an exciting and much needed element for a cutting edge local church. By “prophetic culture” I am referring to having a sense of anticipation among the attendees that God is going to manifest His presence and speak directly to His people, either through the preached Word of God and/or through the worship experience. By prophetic culture I am not merely referring to a plethora of prophetic words being released during church services. When a church has a true prophetic culture, there is a deep connection to God during congregational gatherings that result in believers getting transformed and consecrating themselves to the call of God. When there are many prophetic words but no personal transformation, folks are mainly prophesying out of their own souls and not representing God’s heart. There are several things needed to bring this kind of atmosphere into a local church.
Like every individual believer in Christ — there are various seasons every local church experiences (highs, lows, growth, renewal, decrease, testing and so on). As a local church pastor since 1984 and overseer of a network of pastors since 1999, I have observed the following ten seasons most local churches experience.
There has been a mega church phenomena in the world for the last several decades. By mega church, I am referring to a church that has an average attendance of two to three thousand attendees on a Sunday. I have many friends in NYC, the USA and in numerous nations in various continents who have powerful mega churches with great influence that do not fit the points in this article; however, I have also known of many churches that model many or some of these points. The mega church trend has increased dramatically!
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