There is nothing I enjoy more than going to church! I love seeing my church family, joking around with others using clean humor, singing songs that glorify my Savior and hearing the preaching from the word of God! It is a very special place for me (and for God). But it seems like more and more churches are shutting their doors every month! I’m talking about churches that used to be on fire for God! Churches that went soul-winning and invited others to church services! Churches that preached that hell is hot and sin is wrong!… but now we see their doors closing for the last time.
What happened? Where did the fire go? How does such a strong church get to the point where they close their doors for good? Well, although I understand that every situation is different and you can’t possibly assume the reasoning behind each one, here are a few things that I have seen kill a church! You don’t need all of these for a church to die… usually, you just need one!
How to Kill a Church…
- Introduce Calvinism – Soul-winning is the heartbeat of God, so it should also be the heartbeat of the church. The church’s primary goal should always be to see more people saved! This is usually the mark of a good church! Have you seen a church just absolutely on fire for God? It’s because they go soul-winning! I once heard a quote, “You will never meet a depressed soul-winner,” and I couldn’t agree more! One of the big problems with Calvinism (aside from all of the doctrinal problems) is that it discourages the need for soul-winning! Calvinism teaches that God has already pre-ordained people to either go to heaven or go to hell (which is a teaching that is opposite of what the Bible teaches). But if everyone’s eternal destination is already pre-determined, there is no need to go soul-winning because they will get saved regardless of what you do! This teaching is straight from the pits of hell! God’s heartbeat is soul-winning and Jesus lived by example on how to be a great soul-winner! Introducing Calvinism is a quick way to kill a church!
- Shift the focus off of preaching and put it on music – As I mentioned earlier, I love singing songs that glorify God in church! It fills my soul with joy! But the whole focus of a church service should be about the preaching! It should be all pointing to the time when the man of God gets behind the pulpit and preaches from the word of God! Music certainly has it’s place in the service! It is used to glorify God and prepare the hearts for the sermon. The problem that some churches are experiencing is when they shift the focus off the preaching, and put it on the singing. While working at college in Mississippi, I heard several of my coworkers talk about their different churches (worked at Chick-fil-A). A majority of them had been in church their whole life but admittedly knew very little about the Bible (outside of “God is good”), and when I asked them about their church, they almost always talked about the music/praise team. They talked about how amazing the praise team did last week and how certain songs really spoke to their heart… but never said anything about the preaching! Preaching brings along conviction, which urges salvation, followed by baptism! Every great decision that I have made in my life goes back to a sermon preached by a man of God! The focus of church should be preaching!
- Don’t have a preference on which Bible is used – The Bible is a very powerful book! It is literally the very words of God that He wants us to have. It is how He talks to us on a daily basis. But not all Bibles are the same! Essentially, you have the King James Bible and then everything else! People often ask, “What would you say is the next best translation?” I say, “There isn’t one.” It is either the very words of God, or it isn’t! I don’t want the basic idea of what God was trying to tell us, I want His very words! Once you start using other “bibles”, you will see the desire for soul-winning go down, the dress standards thrown out the window, and more emphasis placed on programs/activities than things of God! The Bible is very important… don’t just accept any version! The devil has been questioning God’s word since the garden of Eden and he continues today!
Stick to the stuff! Stay with the old paths! They are tested and proven!