Wake Up Call!

Have you ever been in a hurry, jumped in your car, hit the gas, and didn’t go anywhere? If you don’t place your car into gear, you don’t go anywhere! Sounds a bit silly, but if I’ve done it (yep), you probably have to.

Churches can act similarly. I’ve talked to many a church leader or member who was perplexed and even disappointed that it didn’t seem like their church was going anywhere. It seemed to be stuck doing the same things week after week, year after year.

I’ve been a church researcher most of my adult life. There are two statistics that I’ve seen so many times they bear attention here.

1.  80% of churches in America are plateaued. This means they have not seen any growth in years. Robert Dale defines a church plateau this way: When the ministry loses its focus on extending and expanding God’s kingdom, and organizational plateau occurs (Dream Again, 2018).
2.  It takes most churches 80 members to have 1 baptism in a year. That’s not those kingdoms growing, conversion of an unbeliever baptism. It’s any baptism! Now consider this, recent Lifeway research (2020) found that 65% of churches now have an average weekly attendance of fewer than 65 people (which is half what it was in 2000).

Let these two numbers set in your mind for a while. Suppose it takes 80 members (attenders) to have 1 baptism and the typical church now has a weekly attendance of 65. In that case, that 80% of American churches plateaued may now be falling off the cliff!

This is our wake-up call! Churches can no longer afford to be maintenance-oriented. We have to become Missional again.

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