There are a lot of churches that seem to be struggling at the turn of this decade. Living in an area where there are churches on every corner I often ask what is the problem that so many churches are closing their doors. I believe that there are a number of reasons.
Many churches have a system of Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Night meetings which reflects their entire strategy. Some of these churches are getting in trouble with their only goal being the preaching services that occur during those three times. There is no strategy within the organization and there are no set of core values that appear within the organization. The result is that people are migrating to other churches or ceasing to attend a church at all. This reflects what is happening with large companies like Wal-Mart moving into an area causing the mom and pop stores to shut down.
The small businesses are running into difficulties because they cannot maintain a place in the market. They are out-serviced and cannot keep up with the demands of the people. The same thing is happening in many churches. People are looking for active children's ministries, dynamic youth ministries, something for every age, small group Bible Studies, a worship experience that includes multimedia, concerts, applicational preaching, and the list goes on and on. Many churches are having a tough time feeling that they have to compete with the larger churches who can offer the different things.
I believe there is still hope but it involves some attention to some major changes that have happened over the years. In the past 30 years there has been a great paradigm shift in the thought process of the church. If the church cannot see what has happened and openly discuss where the mission field is, then there may be trouble on the horizon. A church cannot have its entire focus around only the preaching ministry. I don't believe just the preaching ministry fulfills the purpose of the church. It takes a lot more.
You see, the needs of our people, all be it spiritual, has many facets that scream of a connection to the church. We cannot ignore the location of the people we want to reach, therefore we have to see what motivates us to do the things we do. What are your core values as a church? Does your vision help focus your church to those values?