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The Comatose Congregation (3 of 6)
Series: The Jesus Diaries
OPEN: I once heard about a church that was so dead, that when a member happened to die during the worship service - the paramedics actually carried out 5 people before they finally got the right one.
APPLY: Have you ever seen a dead church? (I asked for a show of hands).
What does a dead church like? (Got several replies).
When people think of dead churches that's usually what comes to mind. A dead church is usually believed to be:
A small group of believers rattling around in an old building.
Composed of mostly older people in their 70's and 80's.
And this group is usually quite content to stay as they are.
Experts tell us that churches often go through four stages of life. One person classified them this way:
1. The Movement Stage. This is the beginning stage of most churches. It is a small, intimate and driven group of believers. At this stage the people are nearly 100% committed. They come for Sunday School, Worship, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Night. They spend time together at each other's homes and in Bible studies.
2. The Magnificence Stage. At this point they've reached a high level of attendance. They've attained critical mass. Now, because of their size, they can begin to do things they could only dream about before. However, at this point the commitment of the group dips to between 50 and 70%. They still have the vision, and a dream, but the intensity has diminished slightly.
3. The Monument Stage. At this stage, the congregation still does things to increase growth, but they begin to talk less about the future than they do about their past. They've reached the point where they work at maintaining their past reputation. They do things because that's the way they've always done them. At this stage, the church is often cursed by power struggles and many talk about the church as "my church" and "our church" as opposed to the "new" people tha ...
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