Are you contributing to the death of your Church?

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). In an article at ChurchLeaders.com he writes about the 7 Deadly Sins of a Dying Church.  Let’s look at the list from a personal perspective and identify where we are lacking and where we need to make personal changes that will reverse the trend of a dying church. Here are the 7 areas to look at:

Sin #1: Doctrine Dilution

One of our consultants sat in a Bible study class of a church that had brought in our team for a long-term consultation relationship. He had been told that the class included some of the church’s strongest leaders. Much to his surprise, the entire Bible study was a debate on whether or not a non-Christian might go to heaven. After much argument, the conclusion was that God would indeed allow such a person into heaven.

When such cardinal truths as the doctrine of exclusivity become issues of doubt, a church is in trouble. There’s little motivation for outreach and evangelism if other paths and other religions are equal to Christianity.

Ironically, in our survey of unchurched persons across America, we found that these non-Christians were much less likely to attend churches with weak doctrinal beliefs than those with strong ones. “Why should I waste my time in a place that does not have much certainty of belief,” Amy, a 29-year-old unchurched person from Arizona, told us. “I can find plenty of uncertainty in the world.”

Sin #2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion

It is no surprise that declining and dying churches have little evangelistic passion. In my January/February ’05 Outreach column, I highlighted one of the major reasons for evangelistic apathy: Many senior pastors either don’t have or have lost their evangelistic passion. Congregations tend to follow the passions and visions of those in key leadership positions, particularly the pastor.

Sin #3: Failure to Be Relevant

Unfortunately, many churches in America are out of touch with the changing trends and values of today’s culture.

Some churches, for certain, abandon many of the cardinal truths of the faith in their quest to be relevant to the community they serve. But even more churches are woefully unaware of the realities, hopes, and pains of those around us. Failure to be true to doctrines of the Christian faith leads to apostasy. Failure to understand the world in which we live and serve leads to irrelevancy.

Sin #4: Few Outwardly-Focused Ministries

In a recent survey of churches across America, we found that nearly 95% of the churches’ ministries were for the members alone. Indeed, many churches had no ministries for those outside the congregation.

Many churches seem to exist only for themselves. While there certainly should be ministry available for church members, often the balance between external and internal ministries is heavily skewed toward internal. When churches seek to care and minister only to their own, it’s a likely sign that decline is in motion and that death may be imminent.

 Sin #5: Conflict over Personal Preferences

Some of the more vicious internal battles in congregations today are not fights over defending the great truths of the Christian faith. Instead, members have conflict over their preferred worship style, the way a room is painted or carpeted, and the type of pulpit the preacher uses. Battles like these are sure signs that members are more concerned about their needs than the needs of the hurting and unchurched people who live and work next to them.

 Sin #6: The Priority of Comfort

A few years ago, my youngest son, Jess, was a high school senior on the football team. Because he gave so much of himself in the Friday night game, he often slept late on Saturdays. Around noon, he’d trudge down the stairs, turn on the television in the family room, and collapse on the sofa.

One Saturday, I passed him as his extended body contorted on the sofa and noticed that my football player son was watching HGTV. Curious, I asked Jess why he was watching a home and gardening show. His response was classic—“’cause the remote is broken.”

 Sin #7: Biblical Illiteracy

Only 3% of churches in America have a planned method of instructing their members to learn the Bible in its entirety. While studying the Bible shouldn’t be limited to a church setting, it’s imperative that churches take the lead in these types of endeavors.

When only three of 100 churches even attempt to provide a way for their members to understand Genesis to Revelation, biblical illiteracy is likely to occur. And biblical illiteracy means that our churches may not be obedient to the calls of Scripture because they don’t know what the Bible says.

For Kids – an interactive NIV Bible website

New for kids: AdventureBible.com website!

… a great place for kids, educators and parents to have fun while learning more about God and His word. The most popular areas of the site are

  • Bible games- Scripture memorization, Bible trivia, books of the Bible, a map game and more
  • Downloadable Bible activities like crossword puzzles and word searches
  • Downoladable Bible reading plans
  • Most important – the Bible itself-

Educators can log in and access hundreds of teacher only resources. There are over 700 teaching aids and learning activities which are available for free (simply by signing up). They look like they are really high quality too.

  • You also get teaching visuals such as Bible maps and illustrations as well as visual timelines

How to use a Bible Concordance and Dictionary (Bible Study video tools)

Zondervan provides these helpful tips in these 2 videos:

Using a Bible reference resource can be a mysterious—and sometimes intimidating—process; this video from Zondervan gives information on the Find category of Bible reference resources, showing how you can go deeper in your Bible study with a Bible concordance. See also – How to Use a Bible Handbook (http://youtu.be/02dn-sVyZks). Published on May 4, 2012 by 

How to use a Bible Dictionary

How to use a Bible Concordance

Zondervan’s creative advertising for it’s NIV Student Bible

For someone who cannot even contain or refrain from 200 word responses in my comments, I find these videos, which play on the short attention span of young people, to be pretty creative. (Now hopefully it can also get them to crack open their Bibles a bit more often):

If you enjoy the video below, you may also want to check out the other two:

  1. Song of Songs in 5 seconds and
  2. Revelation is 5 seconds
  3. and in the featured video below – Genesis in 5 seconds

Uploaded by  on Apr 2, 2012

Are you contributing to the death of your Church?

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). In a recent article at ChurchLeaders.com he writes about the 7 Deadly Sins of a Dying Church.  Let’s look at the list from a personal perspective and identify where we are lacking and where we need to make personal changes that will reverse the trend of a dying church. Here are the 7 areas to look at:

Sin #1: Doctrine Dilution

One of our consultants sat in a Bible study class of a church that had brought in our team for a long-term consultation relationship. He had been told that the class included some of the church’s strongest leaders. Much to his surprise, the entire Bible study was a debate on whether or not a non-Christian might go to heaven. After much argument, the conclusion was that God would indeed allow such a person into heaven.

When such cardinal truths as the doctrine of exclusivity become issues of doubt, a church is in trouble. There’s little motivation for outreach and evangelism if other paths and other religions are equal to Christianity.

Ironically, in our survey of unchurched persons across America, we found that these non-Christians were much less likely to attend churches with weak doctrinal beliefs than those with strong ones. “Why should I waste my time in a place that does not have much certainty of belief,” Amy, a 29-year-old unchurched person from Arizona, told us. “I can find plenty of uncertainty in the world.”

Sin #2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion

It is no surprise that declining and dying churches have little evangelistic passion. In my January/February ’05 Outreach column, I highlighted one of the major reasons for evangelistic apathy: Many senior pastors either don’t have or have lost their evangelistic passion. Congregations tend to follow the passions and visions of those in key leadership positions, particularly the pastor.

Sin #3: Failure to Be Relevant

Unfortunately, many churches in America are out of touch with the changing trends and values of today’s culture.

Some churches, for certain, abandon many of the cardinal truths of the faith in their quest to be relevant to the community they serve. But even more churches are woefully unaware of the realities, hopes, and pains of those around us. Failure to be true to doctrines of the Christian faith leads to apostasy. Failure to understand the world in which we live and serve leads to irrelevancy.

Sin #4: Few Outwardly-Focused Ministries

In a recent survey of churches across America, we found that nearly 95% of the churches’ ministries were for the members alone. Indeed, many churches had no ministries for those outside the congregation.

Many churches seem to exist only for themselves. While there certainly should be ministry available for church members, often the balance between external and internal ministries is heavily skewed toward internal. When churches seek to care and minister only to their own, it’s a likely sign that decline is in motion and that death may be imminent.

 Sin #5: Conflict over Personal Preferences

Some of the more vicious internal battles in congregations today are not fights over defending the great truths of the Christian faith. Instead, members have conflict over their preferred worship style, the way a room is painted or carpeted, and the type of pulpit the preacher uses. Battles like these are sure signs that members are more concerned about their needs than the needs of the hurting and unchurched people who live and work next to them.

 Sin #6: The Priority of Comfort

A few years ago, my youngest son, Jess, was a high school senior on the football team. Because he gave so much of himself in the Friday night game, he often slept late on Saturdays. Around noon, he’d trudge down the stairs, turn on the television in the family room, and collapse on the sofa.

One Saturday, I passed him as his extended body contorted on the sofa and noticed that my football player son was watching HGTV. Curious, I asked Jess why he was watching a home and gardening show. His response was classic—“’cause the remote is broken.”

 Sin #7: Biblical Illiteracy

Only 3% of churches in America have a planned method of instructing their members to learn the Bible in its entirety. While studying the Bible shouldn’t be limited to a church setting, it’s imperative that churches take the lead in these types of endeavors.

When only three of 100 churches even attempt to provide a way for their members to understand Genesis to Revelation, biblical illiteracy is likely to occur. And biblical illiteracy means that our churches may not be obedient to the calls of Scripture because they don’t know what the Bible says.

New Page added – Bible Study

I have started a new page which is easily accessible from the top of the blog with links to various Bible Study sites. I have also added the 24 video series from Chuck Missler titled – Learn the Bible in 24 hours. Here is what it looks like, though more material will be added in the future.
John Piper The word was God and became flesh

A.W.Tozer – In the beginning was the word

A.W.Pink Christ the eternal word

Tyndale THE DOCTRINE OF THE SON OF GOD – The preexistence of Christ

BIBLICA – A Social and historical journey through the lands of the Bible

  1. *THE BEST SELLING BOOK OF ALL TIMES Part 1
  2. *THE BEST SELLING BOOK OF ALL TIMES Part 2

N.T.Wright The Whole Sweep of Scripture

Chuck Missler How we got our Bible

Chuck Missler – Learn the Bible in 24 hours (videos approx 50-90 minutes)

  1. Hour 1 – Introduction to the Bible
  2. Hour 2 – Creation and Fall of Man
  3. Hour 3 – Prehistory, Genesis 4-11
  4. Hour 4 – The Patriarchs
  5. Hour 5 – The Birth of a Nation
  6. Hour 6 – In the Land, Joshua, Judges, Ruth
  7. Hour 7 – Monarchy, Samuel, Kings
  8. Hour 8 – The Poetical Books
  9. Hour 9 – The Book of Daniel
  10. Hour 10 – Post Exile History
  11. Hour 11 – The Major Prophets
  12. Hour 12 – The Minor Prophets
  13. Hour 13 – How sure can we be? Between Old and New Testament.
  14. Hour 14 – The New Testament Introduction
  15. Hour 15 – The Gospels
  16. Hour 16 – The Gospels Part 2
  17. Hour 17 – The Book of Acts
  18. Hour 18 –The Book of Romans
  19. Hour 19 – The Church Epistles
  20. Hour 20 –The Hebrew Epistles
  21. Hour 21 – Eschatological Summary
  22. Hour 22 – Revelation Chapters 1-3
  23. Hour 23 – Revelation Chapters 4-22
  24. Hour 24 – Conclusion / Recap

Chuck MisslerThe TRINITY

David Platt

USEFUL LINKS

  1. Romanian Bible: Cornilescu
  2. Biblos.com (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic)
  3. Biblegateway.com
  4. Biblos.com
  1. Bible.org
  2. Crosswalk.com
  3. BibeStudyTools.com
  4. BibleStudy.org


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