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What if you look healthy, but you’re not?

March 16, 2010

Recently a very healthy looking man came up to me as he was leaving church.  He told me that he wanted me to do his funeral.  I said “sure”, but did not expect that day to come for a long time.  The problem with this man is that even though he looked perfectly healthy, but he was not!  He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer! He looked like the picture of health! He showed no sign of sickness or fatigue.  He still worked, but his days were numbered and they were short!  Very shortly after that conversation, I visited him in hospice care and then conducted his funeral service.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but I do want to make a comparison between that situation and the health of many churches. (Since this is kind of a church-like blog!)

Thomas Rainer, a church growth expert and author of several books and publications states that he has seen this countless times. His team would go into a church for a consultation, and would begin interviewing church members. They would hear from many of the congregants that their church was healthy and thriving. They began to see common warning signs. They would begin to conclude that the apparently healthy body was not really healthy at all.

The church was sick. Some of the churches were really sick. Here are five warning signs that his team saw in these apparently healthy churches.  Though the list is not exhaustive, these five issues were common. Some of the churches had a one or two on the list; some had all five.

Five Warning Signs

1. The church has few outwardly focused ministries. Most of the budget dollars in the church are spent on the desires and comforts of church members. The ministry staff spends most of its time taking care of members, with little time to reach out and minister to the community the church is supposed to serve.

2. The dropout rate is increasing. Members are leaving for other churches in the community, or they are leaving the local church completely. A common exit interview theme we heard was a lack of deep biblical teaching and preaching in the church.
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March 16, 2010 Posted by | Robin | | 1 Comment