by Tracy Jaggers and Dr. Gary L. McIntosh
Many churches in the US are listed as declining or stagnant (plateaued). The declining church is easy to recognize – the parking lot is empty and the pews or chairs are vacant. But how is plateaued defined and how does a church blow themselves off the plateaued status?
Plateaued is defined as: reaching a level, period, or condition of stability or maximum attainment. Should the body of Christ ever allow this definition to be used of a local church? Of course not! The church must never allow herself to be known as “plateaued;” if this is actually a real position. The church must always be growing, yet about 29.9% of the churches around us affirm that they are declining and another 44.3% say they are plateaued or stagnant *. This is alarming! Here are a few possible causes for churches plateauing and ways to blow your church off its plateaued status.
REASONS: 1) Plateaued churches usually have high leadership turnover.
2) Plateaued churches normally emphasize fellowship over evangelism.
3) Plateaued churches rely on older programs and events, and lack creativity.
4) Plateaued churches are committee or congregation-driven rather than
leadership-driven. Those with the vision should usually lead.
WAYS TO BLOW YOUR CHURCH OFF THE PLATEAU:
1) Churches must commit to trust and follow growth-minded leadership.
2) Think, act, react and live like you want to grow!
3) Start or do something new; think outside the box!
4) Publicize using various methods – websites, blogs, mailers, twitter, email…
5) Focus on those outside the church (on the lost); “for such were some of you.”
6) Get every member involved somewhere. No excuses!
7) Expand, remodel, put out more chairs–plan/prepare for/expect them to come.
8) Be a Great Commandment and Great Commission church.
9) Light the fuse and run with the explosion!