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Church growth, or lack there of

 
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Post Church growth, or lack there of Given_Another_Chance
Members,
I would love to get your input on an issue that I see my church facing but most of the congregation does not. It is slowly dying.

Now some background. It is an Assembly of God church. The pastor has been there for 32 years. He also holds a position in the district office and has a secular job of maintaining rental properties and flipping houses with a relative. The pastor is in his 70s and his spouse is fighting health issues.


I have been a member for 2 years, in that time I would say that we have had 25 visitors who come for one visit and never return. I would say that as far as growth we are in the negative because we have no new people and 5 members have died.

I was recently elected as a deacon and the pastor began talking about looking for growth ideas. I quickly volunteered to head this. The reason I did is that I am friends with the P&W leader who is a deacon and we have talked about this issue a lot over the last 2 years. He told me that this has been an item that the pastor has brought up each year and nothing comes of it. The P&W leader volunteered two years ago to work on this issue and all of his suggestions were shot down by the pastor.

One issue I see is that before service and immediately after there are usually two people (church secretary and the member that keeps attendance) that rush the visitors separately wanting their name, address, and phone number. The person keeping the attendance rushing with a clipboard and has to ask for the information several times because he has a hearing issue. The secretary comes with a big folder that includes the church mission statement, pastor bio, church history, church schedule, and visitor info. I have no clue why they ask for the visitor info because no one follows up with them when they don’t return. I think they are scared to death.

The P&W leader told me that the pastor suggested last year that they hold a kite flying event to attract kids to the church. He said that it had worked before for him. (Maybe in the 1960s) Recently the P&W leader has been holding a monthly P&W service on Friday nights that has attracted many people including people from other churches. We also began to have snacks afterward and people seem to like that. The pastor has told the P&W leader that he needs to limit the service to once a quarter instead of monthly and not to have snacks each time. No reason was given. The P&W leader recently asked about holding a P&W service on a Saturday night and was told no because it might affect Sunday morning attendance.

The Assembly of God recently came out with a Bible study app that has a video and Word lesson online. The P&W leader and one of the other deacons showed this to the pastor and finally got him to agree to purchase this. It has been well received, especially by the youth. The problem is many of the adults complain that they are not good with computers and smartphones and when the lesson is printed out they do not have a scripture like those on the app.

The is doing well financially, except the pastor does not want to spend because he sees the church as one day building a senior living facility on the property. We have about $500,000 in the bank but senior living facility is going to cost a lot more than that. And as you can guess, 80% of the members are 60+ years old.

This church has a great potential to reach the community for God but it seems that most are happy the way it is.
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Posts: 123
4/28/22 11:29 am


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Post FLRon
Sadly, your church meets nearly every criterion of a dying church. The fact that not one of your 25 visitors has ever returned is indicative of just how close to dying the church is. That, and the fact that you have people putting the big squeeze on these visitors to get their contact info. I would suggest that has to stop immediately. We have had visitors that have refused to give their personal information and we just smile and say, "no problem, we're just glad you're here today". I can think of two that said that, and they are now attending every service.

I would suggest that at his age, your pastor should be thinking of choosing between pastoring or being in the real estate business, because something tells me he's more successful in the latter than the former. He is obviously unwilling to think outside the box, and when people get that way, they tend to fall back on what they know. Even if what they know is 50 years old and totally unrelatable to today's culture.

The thing that concerns me the most however is that your pastor's vision is not to win the lost, but to eventually establish a home for the senior saints. I'm sorry, but that flies in the face of everything I've ever read or heard regarding evangelism. It's great that you have a half million in the bank, but not to use some of that you reach the lost in your community is mind blowing!

I really feel your anguish GAC, because I could have written this same post almost verbatim. I'm at the point where I've given it to God because I'm out of ideas and frankly tired of running in circles catering to people who have exchanged a servant's heart for an attitude of entitlement.

The best advice I can give is to stay the course and pray-pray-pray that God will move in your church in the manner that HE wishes.
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4/30/22 4:39 pm


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Post Doing the same thing repeatedly like fishing in a bucket... roughridercog
expecting something different to happen is a sign of insanity. Sadly, this describes the ministries and procedures of many churches.
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5/1/22 6:18 am


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Post Re: Doing the same thing repeatedly like fishing in a bucket... Cojak
roughridercog wrote:
expecting something different to happen is a sign of insanity. Sadly, this describes the ministries and procedures of many churches.


Embarassed Embarassed Yes it seems to run the gambit of denominations and independents.

We visited in Deland, FL a couple weeks ago, they seem to be thriving. I wonder if size has anything to do with growth. The smaller churches we have visited here in Florida seems to have been hurt pretty badly by the Pandemic. Sad
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5/1/22 3:08 pm


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Post Re: Doing the same thing repeatedly like fishing in a bucket... roughridercog
Cojak wrote:
roughridercog wrote:
expecting something different to happen is a sign of insanity. Sadly, this describes the ministries and procedures of many churches.


Embarassed Embarassed Yes it seems to run the gambit of denominations and independents.

We visited in Deland, FL a couple weeks ago, they seem to be thriving. I wonder if size has anything to do with growth. The smaller churches we have visited here in Florida seems to have been hurt pretty badly by the Pandemic. Sad


Many smaller churches have the unconscious goal of just keeping the doors open and the building halfway maintained. Reaching out in new directions is dangerous in some minds because they "don't have the money." So as old people die off, the money gets smaller and smaller.
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5/2/22 8:15 am


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