“Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).
A pastor I know has a problem. It’s not unlike that experienced by a large group of his peers, I imagine. He has deacons who are undisciplined, church members who do not take care of the hurting in their midst, and in general, a congregation of unmotivated people. When he preaches evangelism or discipleship or ministry in their community, the way they sit and stare makes him wonder if the language he’s using might be a foreign tongue to them.
Sound like your church? Sounds like some I’ve pastored and a whole lot I’ve known.
The pastor of that unresponsive bunch asked for my advice. Had I written anything on how to revive a comatose church? Does our website have any help for him?
I asked him to give me a day or two to reflect on the subject and seek the Lord’s guidance. (More and more, I keep thinking: This is an uphill task, waking a sleeping church. If it were easy, every pastor would do it and no church would be stagnant or declining.)
Here are my observations, for what they’re worth, on how to transform a collection of comatose do-nothings into a thriving, caring, loving church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, since every church is both similar and different, we will use a lot of generalities and broad-sweeping statements. Pastors should take anything that fits their situation and skip past the rest.
1. The bad news
You will encounter this same problem to one degree or another in every church you serve. No church is without the sleeping, the dormant, the complacent. It’s the human thing. In high school physics we learned that a body at rest prefers to remain at rest, while one on the move wants to keep traveling. So, the question is how to arouse the church that seems cemented to the floor, how to get it up and going.
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