Of all the churches I see from the inside out, these are 12 characteristics I most often discover when working with a church that is flailing, struggling to grow, and missing their God-inspired goals:
- It's all about the leader! Whatever the Senior Pastor wants to do, that’s what the church is doing. Feedback from key staff, influencers, and supporters is ignored.
- All talk, no do! They are suffering from Death by Meeting. No wonder they don't have time for ministry.
- Staying busy qualifies as making an impact. Maintaining a full programming schedule is more important than measuring each program’s effectiveness.
- Critical decisions are based on intuition and perception. ‘Go with your gut’ is standard operational procedure instead of gathering objective data to validate or challenge perceptions and assumptions.
- No one is challenged. People don’t grow or do amazing things without being challenged.
- They assume it's the congregation's job to know what the church is doing. There is very little effort, energy, or creativity applied to church communications. Everything gets dumped into the weekly bulletin or on the church website.
- When people leave, leadership shrugs. Instead of asking the tough questions about why people didn't stick, it was either their issue or God's plan.
- They don't understand how technology empowers people. They believe a church management system is only useful for administators. They wish social media would go away!
- There is a disconnect between vision and the execution. The mission statement sounds great but no one really knows how it actually happens and how to measure the impact.
- Change is BAD! Success for them is keeping things moving and people busy.
- Volunteers aren’t valued. They'd rather hire a staff member than develop a volunteer. Very little intentionality is applied when it comes to inviting volunteers to accomplish ministry. It's just too much effort.
- Talented staff and leaders are burned out. They are not truly empowered to lead and have no idea if they matter.
How does my list compare to what you’ve observed? Am I right on or way off?