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Thom Rainer: 6 Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Church

dysfunctional church

What is a dysfunctional church? By definition, it is a congregation that no longer carries out essential biblical purposes. In other words, the church does not function properly; it is thus dysfunctional.

Unfortunately, I did not have to look far to find over 20 current examples of a dysfunctional church. In my quest, I found six recurring themes. In every one of the congregations, the church manifested at least three of these symptoms.

6 Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Church

1. Severe theological errors are pervasive.

I’m not referring to differences over minute matters of eschatology. These errors to which I refer were denials of the essential truths of the Christian faith. In some cases, leadership no longer held to the exclusivity of salvation through Christ.

2. The church is known as a “pastor-eater.”

The congregation often terminated pastors on a regular basis. At the very least, pastors felt the pressure to leave. Short pastoral tenure was thus normative.