According to the book The Nuts and Bolts of Church Revitalization (Tom Cheyney):
- 95% of churches in America (approximately 340,000 churches) average less than 100 members or less.
- Over 80% of these churches are in decline or have plateaued.
- Somewhere around 3500 churches will close their doors this year.
- That includes 700 – 900 Southern Baptist churches (and who know how many more “Independent” or other flavor of Baptist churches on top of this)
There is no quick fix for this problem. Each church is different. But, speaking from personal experience and observation, these churches are often “living in the past”, remembering the “glory days”. They will often try adding a new program, try a new fad, and in some cases put all the money on hiring a new pastor thinking that will fix the problem.
Eventually, these will fail. The root of the problem lies in the fact that they have forgotten:
…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Don’t get me wrong, often they give money to missions, reaching Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth, but they have forgotten their Jerusalem, the people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding their own church. It is easy to donate money to missions in some other part of the world. What is hard is investing time, hard work and prayer to your local community.
A church MUST be missions minded! They must be seeking the lost in their own back yard! If they are not doing this, that churches days will be numbered.
A church that wants to turn around must be:
- Willing to examine itself and see what needs to be changed, then actually be willing to make those changes.
- Willing to work.
- Willing to commit to 1000 days to the cause (Change doesn’t happen overnight)
- Committed to prayer
- Committed to Christ.
I personally believe that this can be done with any size church. And while it may be harder with a small church, remember that Jesus started out with 12 and he changed the world (and one of those 12 was a traitor)! We’re not talking about changing the world… just your community. Start there and then watch how Jesus will work.
If you are a pastor who wants to see your church turn around, I can recommend several wonderful books and other assorted resources for you to check out. If you need another set of eyes to help you examine your situation, I would be glad to assist. Just contact me.
On the flip side, if your church is without a pastor, please contact me. My heart has truly been burdened for the Lord lead me to a small church needing such assistance, where the Lord can use me. I would love to see what the Lord can do!
Please click any of the below links for more information:
I have only had a small amount of training in this area, along with having done a lot of personal study. I will be happy to come in and share what I know, but in all things, take any suggestings and bathe it in prayer before taking any actions. I would also recommend getting in contact with your local denominational association for advice. I highly recommend also contacting Renovate Conference and/or the ministry of Dr. Jerry Rails for more complete information. I offer this service simply becasue I am close, free for the consult, and desiring to server churches in need.