10 Things That Can Happen When Churches Don’t Admit and Adjust to Church Decline

By Chuck Lawless

There are 10 things that can happen when churches don’t admit and adjust to church decline. I didn’t want to write this post, as my goal in this site is to offer ideas and encouragement for healthy church growth. Nevertheless, I’ve seen far too many churches that were once considerably larger and then went into decline, but without making any necessary adjustments to their change in size.

Here are some of the things that often happen when churches don’t admit or adjust to church decline:

  1. Churches that don’t adjust to church decline live in denial. They live as if the church were still full, and nobody’s talking openly about the downward trend the church is facing. They’re convinced the church is just as strong and significant as it once was.
  2. Churches that don’t adjust to church decline often become overstaffed. Nobody wants to cut positions even as the church declines, so nobody does. Eventually, the church has more staff than they really need to conduct ministry.
  3. Churches that don’t adjust to church decline often have personnel costs dominate the budget. Obviously, this one’s related to #2 above. It’s almost inevitable that personnel costs will eat up the budget if the church doesn’t make personnel adjustments.
  4. Churches that don’t adjust to church decline have a worship space that begins to look too large. You’ve seen those buildings—the size made sense when the congregation averaged 400, but now the space seems cavernous when the church is running 100. Singing becomes almost a bunch of solos rather than corporate praise.
  5. Churches that don’t adjust to church decline allow dying ministries/programs to continue. Ministries/programs often go into decline at the same rate as the church declines. When the program is ingrained in the church’s history, though, nobody wants to make the hard call about whether it still meets a need.

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Source: Church Leaders

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