I am really enjoying Pastor Andy Davis’ new book “Revitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again.”
In it, he lists eleven marks of a dying or a dead church. I tend to agree with him. They are:
Low view of Scripture. The church question both the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture and get a steady diet of man-centered, topical messages or the congregation rejects and drives away pastors who preach God’s Word faithfully.
Man-centered rather than God centered. The church lives for its own glory, reputation, agenda or ideals more than for the glory of God.
Lax shepherding of members and no church discipline. The church has low standards regarding who joins the church and has a bloated membership roll full of unregenerate and non-attending members.
Little evangelistic fruit resulting in dwindling numbers. The church has little connection to the surrounding neighbors, and if they do, it is in a pattern of worldly “good works” with no real connection to the exclusive gospel of Jesus Christ.
Disunity and bitter factions. The church bites and devours one another (Galatians 5:15) rather than showing the love of Christ. The seeds of discord run deep in this church.
Disrespect for godly leaders, resulting in short pastorates. The church almost always fights godly leadership, refusing to submit to its authority (Heb. 13:17).
Disorderly polity. Instead of following the pattern of plural elders and deacons who meet the filtering criteria of 1 Timothy 3, they establish extra-biblical structures (like “church council” or “personnel committee”) to suit their own ideas.
Clinging to traditions, stubbornly unwilling to change. Clinging to “Heritage Days” or traditions, the church tends to be stuck remembering their old glory days.
Selfish spending patterns. These churches spend little on evangelism, missions, or relief of the poor.
Little zeal for corporate prayer. The things prayed for in public tend to be worldly or connected only with the physical health of dying members. Almost no emphasis on the lost or missions.
Increasingly worldly doctrines and behaviors. They especially stagger at controversial teachings in the Bible, namely, God’s sovereignty in salvation, the exclusivity of Christ, personal holiness, divorce/remarriage, homosexuality, abortion, et al.