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Escaping Congregational Doldrums

When a church languishes, sometimes the causes are hidden.

Ancient mariners feared the doldrums. They could die of thirst or starvation if they were caught in the wrong latitudes for too long with no wind. Churches are much the same if they're caught without motivational winds.

I once talked with a church member who had no hope that the church could continue. "There are no people left to come here," he sadly explained.

That seemed odd to me. The church was located in one of the most densely populated areas of a major city. What he was really saying, however, was, "The reason people used to come here no longer exists, and so no one is coming." On that score he was right. The problem was not an inadequate supply of people but rather an inability to connect the church's purpose to the people it touched.

The church that once went full steam ahead with a clear and definite sense of mission, the church that once drew members almost effortlessly through a contagious spiritual life-that church may now be struggling, thirsting for a reason to exist. But how ...

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