“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
— Proverbs 4:7-9
It is estimated that between six to ten thousand churches close their doors every year in America. That’s a sad statistic!
I personally know of several in my area just this year as I am writing this. What once started out as a grand and exciting vision and commitment of a small group of people who chose to form a church together—ended in disappointment, failure and hard feelings maybe years later. What went wrong as people left for other venues? Full disclosure requires me to admit that in my 48 years of experience as a pastor, I have “been there and done that.”
However, it has been said that failure can be your best teacher. Perhaps what I have learned from my misadventures and successes over the years can help your church survive. That’s what my new book is all about. If your leadership is willing to make the needed changes—sometimes painful ones in humility—it can bring renewal to a wonderful vision and get you back on the right track. The late 19th century Scottish pastor, Alexander Maclaren, gave this good advice to the church, “The first condition of securing real guidance in our daily life is to ask it, and that the next is to look for it, and the third is to be quite willing to accept it.”
I have found over the years that church longevity and success depend on several absolute key components working together. I have light heartedly in my new book called them “Puzzle Pieces.“ I have identified a total of five major ones. All the pieces are clearly presented in the Scriptures but often overlooked in our haste to “do” church. As a new movement gathers momentum, it’s easy to get away from the biblical message which can quickly dilute the growth process. Sometimes prideful and strong personalities, doctrinal biases or poor teaching can tend to stifle the necessary areas of development. Churches are not perfect and never will be—because churches consist of imperfect people. But I believe God has given us a scriptural blue print seen in the early church, that if followed can lead to a strong body of believers once again.
Pastor—leader—or member with a strong heart for your church—without knowing your story—I do know this, that IF your church is struggling, flat-lined or getting ready to close the doors, it may be because the church is missing a piece or two of the successful church picture, which can be regained or added. If that be the case, please check out my new book. I believe it could be a big help.
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