Do You Have a Dying Church? In Hot Springs, Arkansas, you’ll find the Morris Antique Mall. Nothing on the inside distinguishes this antique store from dozens like it in town. There’s a musty smell and dusty relics from the past. But if you look closely at the outside of the Morris Antique Mall, you’ll see something that makes it distinct: Before it was an antique store, it was a church building. On another trip several years ago our family visited Historic Williamsburg in Virginia. Every day on our way into the historic section we passed a church building that was enclosed with a high fence, bars on the windows and a cemetery in the front yard.
There are many factors that lead to a dying church. Two of those are no vision and living in the past. In his book “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” Thom Rainer discusses reasons that churches die. (I highly recommend that all church leaders read this book.) Some of those reasons include: refusing to look like the community, budgeting inwardly, being preference driven, no clear purpose and having the past as hero.
A focus on the future prevents a church from becoming a resting place for dusty relics. I believe it was Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
As we travel the state meeting with pastors and church leaders in our GCRC Rollouts, churches are discovering they have great potential to reach their communities through the lives and testimonies of their members. Turning members into missionaries is essential if we are to reduce lostness in our state. Great Commission Resource Centers assist a church to focus on the future, look beyond themselves and see “fields white unto harvest.”