Dying Churches: The Cause And The Cure

Dying Churches

Why are there so many dying churches? Why are there so many shrinking churches? Why are there so many churches made up of little more than a few elderly members? Why are there so many churches that are closing their doors and selling off their assets?

There is a reason we see so many dying churches around us.

And most likely, the reason is not what you think it is.  Probably, you think the reason relates to this:

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. — Matthew 24:12

It is true that there are people who used to attend church…who progressively lost their love for God and the things of God…to the point that now, they are so backslid and worldly-focused that they no longer attend church.

But, the cold, hard truth is that the love of church members waxing cold is a minor reason why there are so many dying churches.

So, let’s have a look at the major reason why there are so many dying churches…let’s hear the message that God has for us here…

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. — Romans 8:6

We normally apply this verse to the level of the individual. But, it applies every bit as much to the leadership of a church. When the leadership of a church is carnally minded, the death of that church is sure to follow.

So, if church leaders want a church that is alive, thriving, and growing, then those church leaders better see to it that they are spiritually minded…they better see to it that they are filled with the transformational power and anointing of the Holy Ghost…they better see to it that the Gifts of the Spirit are active in their lives both individually and collectively.

Now, what typifies carnally minded church leadership?

  • It is leadership that is on a ego-trip / power-trip / control-trip.
  • It is leadership that is so insecure that it squashes and squelches church members at every turn…lest those church members usurp the leadership’s position, status, and power…lest those members prove to be more capable and competent than the leadership.
  • It is leadership that communicates…whether literally or by attitude…”Just come, sit in the pew…listen to what I tell you…do what I tell you to do…believe what I tell you to believe…give big when we collect tithes…and especially, exalt me high and exalt me often. Moreover, I want you to do any and all grunt work that needs to be done…like cleaning the church…or mowing the lawn…but other than that, me and my yes-men will control and decide everything.
  • It is leadership that refuses to fellowship with any nearby churches…and will ONLY fellowship with churches that are at least 100 miles away. Why is this? Well, they would never admit it, but it is obvious that they are afraid their members might find a nearby church more appealing and more satisfying. To further protect their turf, they typically point out…or make up…lots of faults and flaws in the nearby churches…so that members won’t go visit them.

Let’s come at this from a different angle…

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. — 2 Corinthians 3:6

Bluntly, the reason there are so many dying churches is because the pastor(s) and teacher(s) are literally killing the audience with their carnal mindedness and lack of Holy Ghost anointing.

Over and over these pastors and teachers stand before the precious souls sitting in the pews and they drone on and on…until:

  • The tired fall asleep.
  • The lukewarm start surfing on their phone.
  • The doodlers start doodling on whatever piece of paper is handy.
  • The imaginative drift off into the fantasy world of their imagination.
  • The busy start thinking about things they have to do outside of church.
  • The mothers find some reason to take their children out of the sanctuary.
  • Those who are striving to be spiritually-minded finally just give up and start reading their Bible so they can redeem the time and still honor God.

It’s not that the Word of God is dry. It is that these pastors and teachers are dry…and THEIR dryness is conveyed EVEN when they are presenting the Word of God.

In short, churches are dying because the leadership is too carnally minded and self-focused…and because the leadership does NOT have the real anointing of the Holy Ghost.

And, guess what?

Church members will never rise above their leadership.

Church members will either remain below their leadership…or they will leave and go somewhere else where they can operate at a higher level in the Lord because the leadership operates at a higher level in the Lord.

Those people who want to be spiritually minded…who want to be full of the Holy Ghost…who want to see the Gifts of the Spirit working…who want to be on fire for God…who earnestly pray and sincerely read their Bible…must ultimately leave a church with non-spiritual leadership because they simply do not fit or resonate with non-spiritual leadership.

What remains of course are the church members who are cold in their soul…who are not praying down their own revival and anointing…who are not getting anything from the leadership that stirs them up…and eventually, they just reach the conclusion that there isn’t any reason to bother going to the church…and little by little, the church shrinks and dies.  Moreover, as fewer people attend church, fewer services are held…and eventually, the one Sunday morning service just isn’t worth attending.

So point blank, dying churches can be seen all around us because the leadership of those churches is not spiritual enough…let alone Holy Ghost anointed.

Let’s hear this fact:

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. — Job 33:4

The Spirit of life from God  — Revelations 11:11

The Spirit of God is life!

Where the Spirit of God is, there is life!

There is no dying where the Spirit of God is flowing, speaking, and working.

People of God, it is time for us to get, “full of the power by the spirit of the LORD” (Micah 3:8)

It is time for “mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans  15:19) to once again become common-place in our Pentecostal Holiness churches.

It is time for signs to follow us that believe (Mark 16:17).

It is time for our words to have power (Luke 4:32).

It is time for the power of the Lord to be present to heal (Luke 5:17) in our midst.

It is time for people to be “amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:43) that is flowing, speaking, and working in our midst.

It is time that we Christians get “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

It is time that the “Holy Ghost is come upon” us (Acts 1:8).

It is time that we be “full of faith and power”…it is time that we “did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8).

It is time that we be anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power”…that we be go about “doing good, and healing all” who are “oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38).

It is time that we have the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4).

It is time for our faith to stand “in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).

It is time that we get back to experiencing “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1:19)

It is time that we have the “effectual working of his power” (Ephesians 3:7) in our lives and churches.

It is time that we get to the spiritual level that “God would count [us] worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

When the power and working of God is in our midst, a dying church will not be our problem.  Our problem will be providing the facilities required to hold all the people who want to be a part of our church because they want to be a part of what God is doing in our midst!

But, if we fail to appropriate the power and working of God in our churches, then the alternative application of this verse seems fitting:

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  — Romans 13:2

If we do not make it our business to have the Holy Ghost alive and active in our lives and in our churches…if we do not make it our personal responsibility to get filled with the Holy Ghost…then we can expect the church we attend to become yet another member of the dying churches community.

— SLF

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