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Is Your Church in Trouble? Check This Early Warning System

Many churches have a tendency to measure attendance and money as their primary indicators for success, and not necessarily always in that order. There are a lot of other indicators that churches can measure to understand if they’re winning or not (baptisms, first-time guests and how many people are in Bible studies just to name a few).

Early indicators that a church is in trouble are often more difficult to detect, however. Similar to the way many life-threatening diseases behave, a church can look healthy on the outside while wasting away on the inside. And like a life-threatening disease, it can be very difficult to detect.

Here are a few early indicators your church should be paying attention to:

1. Fuzzy about the future.

Perhaps the single most life-threatening indicator that a church is in trouble is a lack of clarity. Clarity provides a church with the power to make decisions efficiently and align the organizational components of the church to move forward.

If you don’t know where you’re going, and can’t state it clearly, you’ve got no chance to get there.

2. High rate of turnover.

When a church has trouble keeping staff and volunteers, the church is in trouble. Turnover is not only an issue when it comes to the paid staff of the church, but also the volunteers.

When turnover becomes the norm, there is a cultural problem at play.

3. Playing defense.

When a church becomes risk averse and starts making choices based on who they are going to keep as opposed to who they are going to reach, the church is in trouble.

The real danger in playing defense is that it becomes a cultural mindset that actually stands in opposition to the Gospel. You see, the Gospel was never meant to be, nor does it need to be, defended; it’s intended to be unleashed.

4. Inward focus.

When a church uses language that you have to be an educated Christian to understand, has a high giving-per-head ratio, is expecting nonbelievers to jump in on and participate in ministry programs that long-time believers participate in, has a poor guest experience and hasn’t thought through way-finding … that church is in trouble. For more on being an insider-focused church, follow this link.