Tony Morgan—author, church strategist, and pastor of ministries at West Ridge Church in Atlanta—recently remembered a conversation he had with a denominational leader about the attributes of a declining church. Morgan remarked, “When I work with churches for the first time, sometimes they’re frustrated with me because I’m not willing to help them fix something specific…Churches can become convinced they know why their church isn’t growing.” Morgan said these five foundational aspects need to be addressed first:

• Lack of mission and vision clarity
• Failure to define a concise strategy to help newcomers become fully devoted followers of Christ
• A complex structure
• Inward-focus with little connection to the community
• Weak leadership, especially in the senior pastor role

Morgan also said he was surprised by the number of churches that “would rather close their doors than make the necessary changes” to avoid decline. He concluded by saying churches unwilling to address these elements will not shift their decline, no matter how hard they try. ( 7/15/10, via Church Leaders Intelligence Report)

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