Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 5 Signs of a Dying Church

5 Signs of a Dying Church

3. Your vision is in the rear-view mirror, not the windshield.

Among the signs of a dying church I call it, “rear-view vision.” Whenever vision comes up, you think about a return to the past rather than a new future.

This tends to happen because the pain caused and received by moving forward is substantial and leadership would, subconsciously, prefer to go back to the past — which they think everyone can agree on. It’s also a result of thinking that if it worked then it will work now.

Another symptom of “rear-view vision” is constant consideration of what the congregation will think as supreme to what might best reach new people with the Gospel. A church needs to do that now and then, but if it’s a way of life, you’ve got “rear-view vision.”

4. You’ve lost the ability to attract quality staff.

Generally, smaller, non-growing churches value staff the least. This couples with the less attractive parts of the church to prevent churches from bringing in quality people whom God has gifted for ministry.

One of the best coaches I know was asked by a man coaching a bad team what his team needed to turn things around. He said, “Great players.” Everyone laughed. Then he said, “Or a well-coached team of good players will do.”

Undervaluing and mistreating staff is common among dying churches. Churches that have quality staff who are released to serve the Lord rarely find themselves in this spot if the leadership team is healthy.