Why Churches Stagnate

Had an interesting conversation with my team of musicians yesterday about why many churches that were vibrant in years past are today in decline and not even aware of it. We marveled at the power of leadership… When there’s good leadership, there’s a clear vision and everyone knows how to play their role well. Where good leadership is lacking, there is fuzzy or unclear vision, and organizations (and people) stagnate… and eventually become toxic.

So how do we spot the right leader? They need to be people of character, competence and chemistry*…

Character – defined well as ‘who you are when no one’s looking’. In this age when so many leaders actions are driven by what’s popular and based on opinion polls, we need to pray for leaders who stand on principle, and who’s personal lives reflect the same values they preach in public

Competence – here I’m talking about the spiritual gift of leadership. It seems very basic to say, but churches need to be led by leaders! When churches are led by teachers, they are very intellectually informed. When led by shepherds, they are very well cared for. When led by administrators, they have fantastic systems. But for a church to be going anywhere, it needs to be led by a leader.

Chemistry – does the leader genuinely like the people she is called to lead? Does she enjoy being part of them and pray for them or merely see them as a means to an end?

Unfortunately, too many churches and organizations choose their next leader based on their seniority in the organization – rather than on whether they have these qualities!

The result – that church or organization is most likely doomed to many years of stagnation and decay…

And they might not even notice it because for a while, they’ll continue with the momentum created under the previous leader. With time however, it will become increasingly clear that they are going nowhere fast.

*these 3 categories I learnt from Bill Hybels


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