How to Kill Your Church

I read a great article by Stephen Altrogge, so I thought I would share part of it with you.

It’s really not that difficult to kill a church. Don’t believe me? Just take a look around. The carcasses of once-vibrant churches are scattered across the landscape of America and Europe. These churches were once spiritually energized, disciple-making, gospel-spreading churches. They were churches that sprung out of the Reformation, the Great Awakening, and the Jesus Movement. They were earth-shaking churches that were making a dramatic impact in their local communities. And now they’ve been reduced to almost nothing. Nothing more than spiritual embers, barely clinging to life. What happened? What went wrong?

Of course every case is different, but I can make an educated guess as to why many of them collapsed. It is possible to kill a church in one, momentous, awful, moment. But most of the time, churches are killed by slow assassination. The life is slowly choked out of them, degree by awful degree. What is the source of this slow assassination? Three steps are involved.

Assume the Gospel

The first step in killing a church is for the pastors and members of the church to assume the gospel. Assuming the gospel means assuming that we sufficiently understand the gospel and apply the gospel. Gospel? Check. We’ve got that down. Now let’s move on to other, more important subjects.

But here’s the thing: as Christians we never get beyond the gospel. Every day I need a Savior who lived a sinless life, died on the cross in my place, rose again, and is now interceding for me in heaven. I sin every day, therefore I am prone to condemnation and discouragement every day, therefore I need to remember the gospel every day. My passion for God often grows cold; remembering the breathtaking truths of the gospel is what rekindles my fire for God.

If we assume the gospel and then move on to other things, we are vulnerable to condemnation, discouragement, and dullness. The first step in killing a church is assuming the gospel. The first step in preserving a church is constantly remembering the gospel.

Neglect the Gospel

The second step in killing a church is for the pastors and the members of the church to neglect the gospel. We’re not talking about an out and out, “burn em’ at the stake!” denial of the gospel. We’re simply talking about neglecting the gospel.

When we neglect the gospel, other things become the driving force of the church. Instead of thriving on the gospel, the church thrives on social justice, or spiritual warfare, or prophetic ministry, or arts ministry. Now don’t get me wrong, all those things mentioned above are good and important, but they can’t be the driving force for a church. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only engine that can sufficiently drive a church forward in doing the work of God. Once the gospel is neglected, the church loses its anchor and is prone to drift toward whatever model of church is most fashionable. The second step in killing a church is neglecting the gospel. The second step in preserving a church is keeping the gospel at the center.

Reject the Gospel

The third step in killing a church is the out-and-out rejection of the gospel. This usually occurs after years of step one and step two taking place in the church. It also tends to occur when a church transfers from one generation to the next. The gospel, which was so precious to the initial founders of the church is rejected by those that inherit the church. Once the gospel is rejected, the church is on a quick death march.

View the original here

What is killing your church? Comment below.

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