Found this very stimulating article on why churches fail. I’ve seen this very pattern happen many times.
Why We Fail…Don Dudley
First reason: Vision.
Regardless of who you are or what books you have read, if you attend a church, they have a vision. I don’t care if they are a house church, mega-church, mainline, or inter-denominational; at one point, there was a vision. If it is / was a good vision, it starts with the Gospel and transformation. Everything else (aesthetics, methods, music style, etc.) comes secondary.
It’s all down hill from here.
The problem is, most people do not pick out what church they go to based on vision. Instead, they pick through secondary things. Very few people research what the church stands for before they go. They research the style and MAYBE the doctrinal stances.
This leads to dissension.
When we jump into a church with both feet only to find we, ourselves, do not align with the vision, we burn out quickly. We think of all the activities as pointless. The outreach events are not our idea of a “good,” so we dislike it (our pride comes into play here too). Soon we start bashing the church: “You know, I like the people, and the music is good, but it is too….[you fill in the blank].”
Often, we are left with only a few people who still see the vision and chase it. The rest are just consumers. Arguments flair up between those who have completely bought into the vision, and the rest. People get upset and leave the church.
Then the church panics.
Once people start their exodus to another church (which they will probably not like), we adapt our vision into marketing so we can fill the newly vacated seats. Instead of reaching the ones we originally were called to reach, we start reaching those who will give us committed attendance. Then the cycle starts over again. On average I would say most people spend about a year at a church before it becomes boring to them and they move on. After many cycles, most churches will fall apart and close their doors. Others will just continue to go through the motions as long as the people will let them. Anyone who still clings to the vision is looked at as an odd ball and “old fashioned.” The pastor is no longer regarded as the one who leads the vision (even if it was his in the first place) but as the “face” of the church for marketing purposes.
JUST STOP DOING IT.
Really. Stop jumping from church to church because of their style and methodology. Instead of going to the churches website to find out what the church looks and feels like, go and look at the vision. Go for something other than secondary things. Does the vision hold true to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)? Do they do it in a way that seems to emphasis your current gifting? Do you feel you could be a beneficial part of their mission? If you answer no to any of these, either the church is not good (because it lacks the element of spreading the Gospel), or you are not good for it.
If you are looking for a social club or just similar demographics, church is the worst place to find them. All you will be doing is ruining the ability to accomplish the vision. You will become the “problem” with the church. Instead of helping them do what God has called them to do, you will become an advocate for the enemy and a hindrance.
Think long and hard before you join arms with a church.
You really have to ask the question: “Why am I going there?”