5 Barriers to church growth

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These will kill local church growth before or after it happens

Are you a mule or rabbit?

Some members are like mules: Resistant to any new congregational ideas to evangelize and like a mule, unable to reproduce

"Well, That's the Lord's work for today!"

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CONGREGATIONAL BARRIERS

INTRODUCTION

    1. Edsel & Vega The Engineering Disasters Of The Automotive Industry
  1. ROLE OF THE EVANGELIST
    1. Chart: Pastor or Equipper?
      1. Who is your evangelist? I'd be glad to introduce you to anyone of the 100 here!
    2. Preachers:
      1. Pastor system:
        1. 4 sermons and classes a week no time left for soulwinning
        2. professional public speaker or evangelist?
        3. the church is a group of people streaming to a shrine to make an audience for a speaker
        4. Sales manager can outperform 10 - 1 other salesman. Would boss have him spend time selling or training others to sell?
    3. members:
      1. preacher says and does all the right things
        1. apathetic, stubborn and resistant to his efforts
        2. "Its the preachers job...what do we pay him for?
        3. If he pushes too hard he gets fired or quits in discouragement
      2. do not appreciate the luxury of having a full time man:
        1. "Only be around for 3 years"
        2. Preacher is not family, he is a temporary ornament
      3. Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armor on? We have raised an army in which nobody fights but the generals
  2. EVANGELISM BY PROXY:
    1. look at evangelism in the church today:
      1. Preachers and money: CHART: "THE MOST POTENT CHURCH BUILDER TODAY"
        1. Preacher thinks up some fancy program
        2. members supply cash
      2. Evangelism: first thing that pops into mind is a gospel meeting or ad in newspaper for BC
      3. Most evangelistic person in the church is the local paper boy! Evangelism by proxy
        1. Abdicating our personal responsibility-
          1. Members hire the preacher to preach the gospel on their behalf
          2. preacher hires the paper boy
          3. no one is doing anything personal.
    2. chart: activate membership.
      1. CHART: evangelism by proxy:
        1. Our traditional way of outreach has four serious problems:
          1. It replaces men with machines
          2. it is inherently impersonal
          3. It tends to de-activate the common membership
          4. It deceives the heart and salves the conscience
  3. WOMEN OVERLOOKED
    1. Always unrest when women are overlooked:
      1. "He takes care of himself first, & I am at bottom of his priority list."
      2. Acts 6 there was unrest in the church because the women were being overlooked.
      3. Today, we have overlooked the great potential that women possess in evangelism.
    2. Woman teachers? CHART: Woman's Restrictions
      1. women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man, 1 Ti 2:12.
      2. women are to teach other women the gospel in Tit 2:4.
    3. NT examples of women actively involved in every aspect of gospel:
      1. significance of Jesus entrusting a woman, Mary, first preaching of resurrection Jn 20:17,18?
        1. When she reported the news to the men, they didn't believe her!
      2. In Jn 4:27-30, Jesus used a woman to bring out an entire village to hear the gospel.
      3. Lk 8:3 Joanna, Susanna, Mary & others contributed to financial support of Jesus' ministry.
      4. Eunice and Lois were commended for teaching their children the gospel. In Col 4:15,
      5. Nympha allowed the church to meet in her house every Lord's day. Col 4:15
      6. Pheobe was called a "servant of the church...worthy of all respect" Rom 16:1-2.
      7. We have Philip's four daughters who prophesied in Acts 21:9.
      8. Acts 18:26 Priscilla and Aquila taught the details of baptism to a powerful evangelist
      9. Euodia and Syntyche were two women who Paul described as his fellow-workers Phil 4:3.
    4. women are better teachers of women, than men.
      1. After all, women themselves will often claim that men don't understand them!
      2. A woman is much better at being frank about the sin of fornication in the non-Christian's life
      3. there is no possibility of temptation between them as there is with a man.
      4. A woman teacher can be that much needed friend in areas where men can't
      5. A women can phone just to chat or drop in for a social visit.
      6. Women teaching women, the cliche, CHART: "I can do anything, you can do, better"
    5. who overlooks who?
      1. Yes, the men certainly have overlooked the incredible potential women inherently possess
      2. women stop overlooking themselves and develop their own God given skills as soulwinners.
  4. GOSSIP, GRUDGES AND GRITZ:
    1. CHART: Rockwell "The gossips"
    2. What different men said about gossip:
      1. Dale Carnage "You'll never move up in the world if you're always running someone down
      2. Two doctors: "Halitosis of the mind" another "Ear Disease"
      3. Photographer: a negative that is developed and then enlarged
      4. George Gallop the pollster: Public opinion that has reached epidemic proportions
      5. Weather man: When someone gets wind of something and turns it into a cyclone
      6. Terrorist: Gossip is Character assassination
      7. Father to son: Believe only half of what you hear...make sure you believe the right half!
      8. Chinese proverb: A six inch tongue can kill a six foot man
      9. Queen of sheeba in reference to Solomon: "The best half, hath not been told" The best half of gossip is always the half that has not been told!
      10. Non-Christian: pours gasoline on the church and lights the match
      11. God: Lev 19:16 "You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor, I am the Lord."
    3. Gossip defined:
      1. GOSSIP IS saying something about another, true or untrue:
        1. for our entertainment
        2. to build our own ego
        3. to harm hurt, spite or get revenge
      2. GOSSIP IS NOT:
        1. Telling someone else to help solve the problem: 1 Cor 1:11
        2. Warning about possible harm: 2 Ti 2:14-15 "Alexander did me much harm, beware of him"
        3. saying anything nice, complimentary or positive about: Eph 4:29
    4. soulwinners won't gossip:
      1. Gossip does irreparable damage: Lady came to old farmer for advice on how to correct the damage caused by gossiping. Farmer took a big feather pillow outside and slashed it open in the wind. The feathers quickly spread everywhere in sight. He said, "Gather up the feathers."
      2. Too busy minding the Lord's business rather than others
      3. Positive work of gospel is more important than the negative failings of brethren
      4. Saving souls rather than slandering the saved
  5. POOR ROLE MODELS FOR NEW CHRISTIANS
    1. What is your child's role model? CHART: Punk Hippo
      1. Bart Simpson? Some teenage idol?
      2. Harry Chapen Cat's Cradle "When I grow up I'm going to be like you, dad!"
      3. DANGER; We become like that which we worship: Great if God bad if Bart Simpson
      4. When Talitha was 4, "Daddy don't put your feet on the coffee table...you'll teach the kids"
    2. Who are the new converts role model? YOU ARE
      1. Why do I have to be at every service...sister _____ isn't?
      2. Why do I have to quit smoking...brother ______ hasn't?
      3. Why can't I drink one beer...Elder ____ offered me one last week?
      4. When will we stop studying the Bible every week...the rest of the church doesn't?
      5. I can't wait till I'm a mature Christian and won't have to read my Bible daily and pray.
    3. Harry Chapen, "I'll be like you..."
      1. If all new converts grew up like you, what would the church be like?
  6. YOUNG MARRYING NON-CHRISTIANS
    1. CHART: Bad Advice
      1. Where did I find this?
        1. Truth magazine
        2. Christianity magazine
        3. Spreading the Word?
      2. Sunday Sun: A smutty tabloid, features a full page color "sun swine girl" notch above National Enquirer
      3. If the world realizes this advice...Why can't we, the people of God?
    2. Bible teaching: Old Testament Forbad Marriage To Non-Covenant Partners:
      1. Patriarchal: Gen 26:34-35; 27:46
      2. Mosaic: Neh 13:25-26
      3. NT: Rom 15:4 written for our instruction; 1 Cor 7:39 remarry Christian only
    3. facts of mixed marriages: chart
      1. Don't even date non-Christians: You can't marry somebody you haven't dated
      2. Whose word should you take and advice follow?
        1. grandparents?
        2. elders?
        3. preacher?
        4. Those who already made the mistake you are about to make & married a non-Christian
    4. CHART: growing vs dying churches:
      1. A growing church:
        1. numeric growth itself
        2. low dropout rate
        3. new young people to chose mates from thus reducing mixed marriages and falling away
      2. Stagnant or Dying church:
        1. no numeric growth
        2. high drop out rate
        3. many fall away through the evil influence of non-Christian spouses.
  7. POOR ATTENDANCE
    1. chart: please consider me excused
      1. CARTOON: Why do they close church when we have company?
      2. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, a lot of people must love this church
      3. Newscaster, "Sunday looks like a great day to not forsake the assembly"
    2. God appealed to human standards to prove a point:
      1. Mal 1:8 Why not offer the crippled sacrifice to the governor
      2. Why not attend church and be late for your employer?
    3. bc2, "The Lord"
      1. If you are not in the habit of attending every week, you will be lost:
        1. Not because you are breaking the commandment of Heb 10:25
        2. It is merely a symptom of a more serious problem: lack of spiritual interest!
        3. CHART: test yourself
    4. Christians interested in saving souls never forsake:
      1. Saving their own soul
      2. Saving souls of others:
        1. If you thought a visitor you invited might show up, you would never miss
        2. imagine your visitor comes but you stayed home to watch TV or slept in.
  8. STERILE ASSEMBLIES
    1. 2 CHARTS: "APATHETIC" "OH JOY"
      1. Heartless prayers
      2. Skimpy giving
      3. Morgue like singing
      4. Machine like communion
      5. Non-convicting preaching CHART: "you wake him up"
    2. solution: have a baby!
      1. Couple feel their life is routine & common place, have a baby. stir-up, spice-up liven up!
      2. Non-Christian visitors see the joy and genuine enthusiasm:
        1. Members put more effort into singing, prayers and are more attentive to sermons
        2. preacher, presider, and song leaders put more extra effort into preparation.
  9. CONCLUSION:
    1. chart: growing/dying churches

Steve Rudd

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