Responding to Decline

Church growthHow should the church, and we as ministers, respond to decline?  It seems our normal way is to try to be ever more inclusive (just look at many of the mainline churches in the North American context).  Is there perhaps a correlation between excessive inclusiveness and decline?  But is this really the best response to decline of pastoral applicants and shrinking congregations? The following is a Facebook post by Chris Green that rather provocatively offers an answer to the question at hand:

I don’t think it’s possible to agree more with someone than I do with Fabricius on this point: “How should the church respond to congregational decline, financial deficits, and vocational shrinkage? The answer is obvious: make ministerial selection more stringent, theological education more demanding, and spiritual formation more exacting. And burn anyone who proposes a managerial or entrepreneurial solution.”

So what are your thoughts?  Should our churches develop better “business” models to try to grow the declining church…or should our churches become ever more rigorous in our requirements?  Or is there some other direction the Church should take?
Originally published by me at on December 12, 2012.

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3 Responses to Responding to Decline

  1. Tim Temple says:

    Why is the assembly of God denomination growing while the rest are declining? The answer is spiritual. The churches and their members are under attack by witches, Satanism through Marxism, Hindu through Yoga, Buddhism through Mahayana, Voodoo through Santeria and Gnosticism. If you pretend these don’t exist in the church and Jesus was powerless to stop them anyway, your children willnotbeChristians.

  2. fcjudd says:

    I have a couple of thoughts. I think the church needs to remain true to the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe it — not only the initial step in salvation, when we first begin to believe, but also the continuing journey of faith in which we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” We need to be Christ-centered, exalting Him in all that we say and do — living out our faith in truth, love, grace, and holiness. We need to be people who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And we need to be led by the Spirit of God. If we remain true to our calling in Christ, the Lord will build up his church despite all obstacles. And unless He builds it, we will labor in vain.
    I also think that shepherds of Christ’s church (1) often try to carry burdens that God never intended for them to bear alone and (2) they are often unaccountable to other shepherds who know and work closely with them. Being effectively unaccountable, they are unduly exposed to the enemy’s attacks and they are often deprived of godly counsel and the wisdom it can bring. This is particularly true in the senior pastor model of church leadership. The result is that pastors often burn out or blow up in ministry, which is harmful to them, to their families, and to the cause of Christ. I’ve observed the strength that practicing biblical eldership brings to a church — moral strength, wisdom, balance, stability, a church that is truly built upon Christ and not some pastoral personality. In short, I think we would do well practice biblical eldership in our local churches.

  3. As for Pastor burnout, this gets a LOT of hits on my website:
    As for demonic attack on the church, its leadership and its peons:
    The American churches are a 501.c.3 legal corporations. The elders can get off track by only seeing it as a corporation full of paid and unpaid staff. Here’s what the churches are supposed to look like:

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