Here’s a mind bender for you. Below is a simple scenario. Put your church consultant hat on and contemplate – what would you do?
Four mornings each week, he sat in his office doing Facebook updates, responding to the occasional email, and tending to the church’s website. On Wednesdays he planned worship and worked on the bulletin. He tried to write the weekly sermon on Thursdays, but too often that task fell to Saturdays. In the afternoons, he dropped by convalescent centers, visited the hospital, and methodically visited shut-ins. On at least two evenings a week there were scheduled meetings he was expected to attend. On the other two weekday evenings, he led a weekly Bible study and the youth group. Of course, there were the weekly pastoral crisis calls, the occasional counseling appointment, and the growing number of funerals. The only real bright spots of his week were the lectionary study group and the interfaith clergy alliance meetings. The rest of his time was spent mediating one disagreement or another between members of the council.
Sure, it’s an oversimplified example, but you might not be surprised to learn it’s close to the norm in flat-lined and declining churches.
The prognosis for congregations like this isn’t good. With one church closing its doors forever every six hours, most of these churches are terminal. Indeed, less than 20 percent of these churches are likely to pull themselves back from the edge of oblivion.
Consider the above sketch carefully and put your church consultant hat on.
Question: If invited, how would you intervene to bring hope and a future to this congregation? What are the first three things you would do? Share your answers and join the conversation in the Comments section below.