Often, this happens because the congregation and/or leaders are married to unhelpful methods, structures and ideas. Doing things because they’ve always done them. Or maybe they saw it at a cool, new conference and even though it doesn’t fit their context, they’re clinging to it anyway.
Too many churches and pastors conflate absolute moral truths with changeable methods. They’re afraid that doing something differently methodologically will lead to doing something wrong theologically or morally.
A stuck congregation needs a good, loving, patient pastor to teach them the difference between eternal principles and changeable strategies.
3. The Wrong Thing In the Right Way
You can gather a big crowd using bad theology and smart methods. But you can’t build a healthy church that way.
Sometimes, this is what the resisters from point #2 are afraid of. They’ve seen big crowds attracted to false teaching through the use of smart methods, so they reject both. They forget that there are some big churches built on good theology, too.
Biblical principles must always come first. Fruit before gifts. Health before numbers.
We have to resist the temptation to think that a church must be doing everything right simply because they’re getting bigger – even if it’s our congregation.
This happened to me about a decade ago. Our congregation grew from 200 to 400 in a short time, using smart methods and systems, but we were sick on the inside. Starting with me.
It’s better to do the right thing in the wrong way and not grow than to do the wrong thing in the right way, even if the numbers get bigger. (Of course, the best way of all is to be doing the right thing in the right way.)
4. The Wrong Thing In the Wrong Way
Does this really need to be explained? Unfortunately, yes.
These churches exist. I’ve seen too many of them. And some of them have the ability to hang in there for a long time.
Sometimes it’s because the people are so entrenched in a tradition that they’ll hang on to it and each other, no matter what.
Sometimes a church loses ground after drifting into bad theology, then tries to reverse the trend by trying a cool, new church fad.
Either way, two wrongs never make a right.
Which Church and Pastor Are You?
Is your church at Point 2? Are you doing the right things, but you can’t figure out why they’re not working?