By Dr. Francis Akin-John
Recently,I was asked about the greatest obstacles to church growth I see in many denominational, independent and evangelical churches. Based on my consultations and studies, here are some of the primary ones I’ve seen:
- A worn-out pastor. When the shepherd is exhausted “and often hurting because of conflict” have an outward, evangelistic focus.
- Inward focus. No church naturally defaults into an outward focus; instead, they turn inward to meet internal needs unless they intentionally fight against that trend.
- Bad preaching. Sometimes it’s not as biblically sound as it should be. At other times, it’s less than exciting. Either way, it doesn’t lead to growth.
- Evangelistic apathy. This, too, often starts at the top. A church that’s lost its fire for evangelism usually settles into maintenance mode.
- No growth strategy. The church assumes that just because they gather and enjoy it, others will come automatically. Meanwhile, the enemy who is a strategist (Ephesians 6:10-12) works his plans to keep people away from the gospel.
- Turf wars. It’s tough to reach outside the church when everybody’s fighting to keep his power inside church. Plus, non-believers aren’t interested in stepping into a battleground.
- Prayerlessness. I know this one sounds like a “super-spiritual” reason, but I’m not shocked by the correlation between churches that don’t pray much and church-es that don’t grow much.
- Space issues. This reason’s at least a positive one: the congregation has outgrown its parking and/or facility space. The crowd won’t come where the crowd won’t fit.
- Poor discipleship. When baby believers remain babies after years of being believers, they tend to become whiners’ strategy to help babies grow.
- Retreat mentality. I’ve said for years that the church has become a place to retreat from the battles rather than a place to get re-armed for the war. The church in retreat won’t grow.
These are the basic and primary ones I can give out now. Much more will be given during our Healthy Local Church conference of 14-17 February 2018, in Lagos, Nigeria, With the theme: OPEN THE FRONT AND CLOSE THE BACKDOOR OF YOUR CHURCH. You can indicate your interest by sending me your number in my inbox.
10 Reasons I fear for young Ministers
I love young ministers who answer God’s call upon their lives. They’re some of the most creative, passionate, committed people I know. I love it when young people start the ministry early in life and focus on their divine assignments, I do fear for them, though. Here’s why:
- Many have had no older mentors in their life. No older believers have taken them under their wing, loved them, and led them. Too many young pastors are learning ministry on their own.
- They’re leading in a culture that is increasingly accepting sin. Had you projected the sin issues we face today when I began ministry 35+ years ago, I probably would have laughed at you. Now I weep.
- The internet brings sin options to them. In my days, people sneak out to buy pornography. Now, it sometimes shows up in our in-boxes and computer systems.
- Many come from broken homes. That means they’re teaching about being godly, healthy, God-centered, committed families when they’ve never been part of one themselves.
- Their only heroes are Internet-based. It’s great to have heroes from afar, but most of us need gospel heroes who stand in front of us and look us in the eye.
- They sometimes fear leading a church. Frankly, they’ve seen too much in fighting congregations. A healthy respect for the deep responsibility of leading God’s people is right; a fear that hinders their leadership is not.
- They’re walking into inwardly-focused churches. By sheer numbers, most young pastors will step into congregations with a track record of little growth. What seemed so exciting and challenging at first can quickly become defeating.
- Many don’t know how to pray. No one’s taught them how, and they have no prayer warrior role models. Instead, it doesn’t take them long to begin doing ministry in their own power.
- They take for granted their access to the Bible. Most of us do, actually. We’ve forgotten that much of the world has no access to the Word.
- They’re entering a profession too often marked by competition, jealousy, and personal kingdom-building. They don’t have to look far to see the ungodliness of church leaders striving for recognition and platform space. And, it doesn’t take long for zealous, talented pastors to fall into the same trap.
I fear for young pastors, but I don’t let the fear trump my belief in them. In fact, my concern makes me to reach out to them in seminars, conferences and resources.
*Don’t forget our conference “Healthy Local Church 3” is Wednesday 14th – Saturday 17th of February 2018.
@ Foursquare Int’l Convention Camp, Orisunbare-Idimu, Lagos
Contact: 08029744296 or 08023000714
*International Church Growth Ministry holds two major conferences a year, one in second week of every February and the other in every first week in September.”