The theoretical lifecycle of a church can be divided into thirds.  The first third is a strong focus on mission:  to reach out, make disciples, grow the church.  As the church grows, it adds programs and facilities.  The drift comes in the second third.  It is subtle…and devastating.  The shift moves to maintenance.  It can be measured by the way leaders spend their time and energy, by financial support, with an increasing percentage devoted toward maintenance.  The church moves from making disciples to operating the machine.  The second third is the “critical third.”  A church that persists in a plateaued maintenance mode will begin the downward spiral.  This decline is not just in worship attendance.  It includes finances, spiritual dry rot, and momentum.  Does this sound like your church?  If not, rejoice!  If so, repent!  In the true sense of the word repent – turn around.  Offload maintenance and upload mission.  It just takes a major overhaul of…who you are…and what you become.  Easy for God. Possible for you.

Read more in the May/June 2012 Church Doctor Report.

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