Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 10 Reasons Why Small Churches Stay Small (Part 2)

10 Reasons Why Small Churches Stay Small (Part 2)

9. A state of neglect permeates the church.

Not always, but often, small churches, dying churches shows signs of its weakening condition by the disrepair of its buildings and the neglect of its appearance. The interior walls haven’t been painted in years and bear the collective fingerprints of a generation of children. The carpet is threadbare, the piano’s keys stick, the pulpit chairs need reupholstering, and the outside sign is so ugly it would be an improvement if someone knocked it down.

I received a vivid lesson on neglect early in my ministry when we received word that a high school student had taken his own life.

Although the family were members of another denomination, our youth minister and I called at their home to express our sympathy and offer our services. Along the way, my colleague filled me in on the family’s situation. The dad was said to be having an affair, he and his wife bickered constantly, they were heavily in debt, the children were without supervision, and the brilliant son who had taken his life was rudderless.

As we parked and walked up the sidewalk, we were struck by the disarray of the yard. The grass was knee-high and clutter was everywhere.

Inside, the father calmly brushed aside our condolences. “The way I look at these things,” he said, “is that they all have a way of working out for the best.” I was stunned. I thought, “Sir, your child is dead. Tell me how that is going to work out for the best.”

We left sadder than when we arrived.

Dying churches do not tend to their business. They let problems fester and divisions go unaddressed. Listen closely and you will hear a leader speak those infamous words: “These things have a way of working themselves out.”

And so they do nothing, and small churches drift on toward the grave. No one gets saved, no one joins, people drift away, the community becomes less and less aware of the existence of that little church, and the remaining members complain that people just don’t love the Lord the way they used to.