7 Deadly sins of a declined church: Apathy

By Replant

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15-16

A church can be in trouble and on the brink of drastic decline—and not even know the reality of what they are facing. With money in the bank, people in the seats and programs on the calendar the leaders can be lulled into thinking that things are okay—which is not okay.

This blindness occurs in part because the church is measuring things that are secondary rather than primary. Worship attendance, budget and offerings are important but provide only a small part of the picture. They are indicators or outcomes rather than key metrics that indicate spiritual health.  A church with an eye on mission and vitality measures Passion for God: granted, this is difficult to measure, but you know it when the church has it and you can sense it when it’s gone. If a service begins and ends each week and people aren’t challenged to confess sin, repent and follow Jesus in greater obedience, decline is around the corner.

Prayer: whether it’s a large corporate gathering or smaller groups, find a growing church and you’ll discover a praying church. As well, they are praying for those who are not yet Christians, for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, for boldness, holiness and spiritual healing rather than exclusively praying over the recurring sick lists.

Passion for the Lost: a growing, vital and missionally alive church possesses leaders and members who long to see others come to faith in Christ. This passion leads them to prayer, personal engagement and personal conversations about Jesus with those who do not yet have faith in Him. Prioritizing the Important: a vital growing church adopts the attitude that they’ll do whatever it takes to see people take their next steps with God (which means more than attending a service and participating in programs). When reaching and discipling people is the priority the church becomes more personal and less programmatic.While there are many things that lead to a state of decline one of the tell-tale signs is when a church believes that they are not in need of God’s presence and power.

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Revelation 3:17

Jesus calls that church to pursue him, repent and plead for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of their spiritual hearts so they can see clearly.

Published May 12, 2015

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The Replant team of the North American Mission Board works to reverse the death and decline rate of Churches. For more information and resources on Replanting go to www.namb.net/replant and follow @churchreplanter.