I recently posted seven suggestions NOT to do when a church is in decline. I promised a companion post.
What should you do when a church is in decline?
It should be noted this is a more difficult post to write. There are no cookie-cutter solutions for reversing a church in decline. Churches have unique characteristics because they have different people. There are different reasons that cause decline. It could be anything from poor leadership to being locked into the traditions of men or simply a change in population in the community. It’s difficult to copy what someone else has done, because the causes are so different.
I would be considered arrogant and even hurtful to pretend to have all the answers for a church I do not know.
I do have a few suggestions. When I’ve worked with a church in decline I almost always give at least some of these same suggestions.
(Now in any post like this I explain—I don’t know that I have to other than I’ve been blogging long enough to know some of the responses I will get. GOD IS IN CHARGE. Period. Listen to my preaching—pick any Sunday—and you won’t hear otherwise. I have a philosophical and even biblical mindset. However, God has given us responsibility to lead His church well. We are under His direction and work by His strength, but He gave us minds and creativity to use for His glory.)
Here are seven suggestions TO DO when the church is in decline:
What went wrong? What is going wrong? Why are less people attending? Why are new people not? Ask the hard questions. Is it programmatic? Is it a people problem? Is it a biblical issue? Is your church just plain boring? If nothing has changed in the programs you offer in the last 10 years, I may already have your answer. But, ask questions. Ask for inside and outside opinions. This takes guts, but is critically necessary. You can’t address problems until you know them. You may need an outside perspective. You could trade with another church, by letting them evaluate you and you evaluate them. Ask visitors. Recruit a “secret shopper” attendee to give you an objective look at the church. You must evaluate even if you are afraid to know the answers.