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Five Ways Churches Squelch Spiritual Vitality

Five Ways Churches Squelch Spiritual Vitality

I’ve seen patterns emerging in faith communities this past year that seem to squelch their spiritual vitality.  These patterns become road blocks or speed bumps that limit people’s capacity to experience a life-shaping faith in Jesus Christ.

An overarching concern I have is the prevalence of people who do not experience authentic community within their congregations and only know members on a superficial level. These congregations find may discipleship to be a difficult process when there’s a vacuum of settings for building significant relationships with people.  Listed below are five more squelchers of spiritual vitality that may hinder congregations from turning strangers into friends, drawing people into a life of discipleship and creating an environment that fosters lifelong faith formation, many congregations are lacking these critical components:

  1. Lack of urgency/Complacency: The longer congregations are in existence, the greater likelihood that they will become too comfortable with the way things are in their congregation. A culture of mediocrity sets in and a congregation’s prophetic voice often gets lost.
  2. Honoring traditions that don’t lead to transformation: Congregations can become a fossilized versions of themselves, losing their nimbleness and adaptability as they age, and their desire to be a transforming influence in people’s lives. 
  3. Seeking to inform rather than transform: Congregations tend to equate discipleship with head knowledge rather than the transformation of one’s heart, mind and soul. Growing churches help people live their faith, not just like their faith.
  4. Maintenance-oriented rather than mission-minded: Many congregations are no longer driven by their mission, vision and values. The scorecard they use for measuring congregational vitality is much too limiting.  New scorecards are needed to track individual and organizational transformation.
  5. Lack of new leadership: Congregation must be infused with fresh ideas and new approaches. Too many congregations a fresh perspectives due to lack of intentional leadership turnover.
Most congregations are launched with a sense of clarity of purpose, and with much passion and energy. Some may end up living on the fumes and memories of the past.
I’m curious about what squelches your congregation’s spiritual vitality?  What are you currently doing to ensure that your congregation will remain vibrant for years to come?


Some Toughts (23)

  1. Jeremy Force
    added on 11 Feb, 2014

    The first thing that come to mind is “we have always done it that way and it is a tradition”. People love to live in the past, but we sure seem to never learn from it. Also, because of our camp setting, many times, no one thinks about ministry beyond their time here at the site, but the reality is that it should be all about what happens the other fifty one weeks of the year.

    As we move into our training routine for the upcoming camp season, I spending much more time around two new pieces of our ministry. The first is the AAA response or what I say about living into an extravegent welcome and a ministry of hospitality. The second is all about relationships, whether it is camper and counselor, parent and camper, church and camper, staff and parent or many more connections, that it is all about how we relate to one another and how does that impact our personal faith and the faith in this community.

  2. Kerri
    added on 20 Feb, 2014

    This is very true for a lot of congregations. We have had trouble with a lot of these roadblocks, but we are finding new ways to honor our old ways but add new!

  3. added on 2 Mar, 2014

    We have to favourite this site it seems particularly valuable very helpful

  4. Sarah
    added on 4 Mar, 2014

    We are experiencing the first three of these issues for certain. The good news is with plenty of new staff on board, there are fresh ideas surfacing. The challenge becomes blending, bonding and creating processes that honor the old traditions, but invigorate the present and build on strengths for the future.

  5. Jeramy
    added on 5 Mar, 2014

    Our congregation is very much stuck in the throws of #2, working on allowing a sacred cow to die so that something that achieves the cow’s original purpose can be born.

    Our leadership team has been in a lot of flux, but is settling and setting off in a productive, intentional new direction. It certainly is exciting!

  6. Casey Welch
    added on 5 Mar, 2014

    I think it’s important to remember that discipleship is reaching out beyond the congregation. I think whenever a church intentionally reaches out complacency fades away.

  7. Kyle
    added on 12 Mar, 2014

    1 2 and 3 are all my church. People in church realize that we need something so that is refreshing but no one really knows what.

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