I am amazed at how much material has been released recently about church revitalization. I just heard a statistic that 80% of churches in America have either plateaued or are in decline. I am grateful for the efforts of those who seek to bring life to these struggling churches. I am one of them. Yet I have a growing concern the more I learn about many of the materials out there addressing this problem. If we are going to characterize local churches as “declining,” then we are basing a church’s health on how many people attend.
How many people now attend a church versus ten years ago and why does give us some helpful insight into why a church is struggling, but that does not always tell the full story. This way of evaluation can also be an unnecessary source of discouragement to a pastor. The more I hear the push to overcome the “plateau or decline,” the more I begin to think of scenarios where a church’s decline in numbers is not necessarily a sign of trouble, but may be even a sign of health. There are many, but 5 reasons came to my mind, several of which I even experienced in my own church.
Here are 5 reasons your church decline is a sign of something good:
1. Unconverted people leave because the gospel is being preached.
If there are many unconverted members in local churches (I believe there are), they will not want to hear a new pastor come in and replace the typical feel good, better yourself message from the pulpit with the true gospel of Jesus Christ that is the only source to bring true spiritual life to a dying church. Unconverted church members will either leave or stay and cause problems, especially if they are in leadership. Preaching the gospel is the right thing to do and is the only thing that can give life to a church. No pastor should ever be discouraged if he loses people over declaring the gospel.
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