Home Pastors Articles for Pastors When Your Church Is in Decline, DON’T Do These 7 Things

When Your Church Is in Decline, DON’T Do These 7 Things

Part of my ministry involves working with other churches. Sometimes when I hear from a church, they have been plateaued or in a season of decline for several years. They are often looking for answers of how they can turn around.

I love helping churches, but there truly are no standard answers. It’s unique for every church and every situation.

I do know, however, that if a local church never adds new people … eventually it will cease to exist. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

The hardest lesson a church needs to learn in a period of decline, however, is not what they should do … but what they shouldn’t.

I’ve seen churches make, what appears to me, to be an abundance of wrong decisions toward growing again. The purpose of this post is to help churches who may find themselves in a declining period avoid mistakes I’ve seen some churches make.

Here are seven suggestions of what NOT to do when in decline:

1. Blame others.

It’s easy to blame the decline on a former pastor … or on the deacons … or on the seniors … or even on the culture.

But, the reality is, when you are in decline, this matters less than what you are going to do about it. And as long as you are blaming someone or something, you won’t address the real issues.

2. Make excuses.

There are multiple reasons we could probably discover … many of them true … of why a church begins to decline.

You should know them, but at some point, excuses only cloud our ability to move forward. We tend to live in them rather than move past them.

3. Pretend.

I’ve seen so many churches pretend there isn’t a problem … when everyone knows there is one. (Or many.)

If you want to grow again, you’ll have to admit there is a problem that needs addressing. (And, this is the subject of another post … but …  in full disclosure … just so you know … that may involve implementing some change. No … that’s not full disclosure. It WILL involve some change.)

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.