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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.