A Lifetime Statistic
80% (maybe 75% or 85%) of all churches have reached a plateau or are in decline. That statistic has always been true for me. To be fair, it might not have been true when I was a preschooler or child but it has been true since I started paying attention (probably in 11th grade). The implications of this statistic are enormous yet it doesn’t seem we ever talk about it.
We talk about a lot of things . . . how bad the culture has become, how young people don’t come to church anymore, how the financial crisis in the European zone is impacting the offering plate, how we are in a “post-denomination world,” when are we going to start talking about the fact that 80% of our churches are going out of business!
I’m not opposed to churches going out of business – I have this silly notion that there is something new on the other side of death. My hope is that churches would be willing to talk about this, to stop talking about all the externals and say to each other, “OUR church is plateau or in decline – with the power of the Holy Spirit what are WE going to do about it?”
Let me give you some suggestions for how to talk about this. Acknowledge the reality. Certainly pray. Then talk about the future honestly. What does it look like for our church to die? What does it look like for our church to transform and move into a new day of growth and community transformation? Don’t be Pollyanna about all of this. I firmly believe it is easier to go through the pain of a church dying than the pain of the changes a church has to be willing to embrace to see a new day.
“My” lifetime statistic needs to change. Let’s bury what is dead. Let’s birth what is new. Let’s transform what is stale and let’s see the Kingdom come!