Sermon Illustrations

Almost all churches go through “lifecycles” - they start with a MAN, a visionary leader has a passion to to accomplish a God-given Vision -- then they become a MOVEMENT. At this stage the people are nearly 100% committed. They spend time together at each other’s homes and in Bible studies.

Then they become a MACHINE - They’ve reached a higher level of attendance. Because of their size, they can begin to do things they could only dream about before. However, at this point the commitment of the group dips to about 50%. They still have the vision, and a dream, but the intensity has diminished. They focus simply on keeping things going.

Then they become a MONUMENT - At this stage, the congregation still does things to increase growth, but they begin to talk less about the future than they do about their past. They’ve reached the point where they work at maintaining their past reputation. They do things because that’s the way they’ve always done them. At this stage, the church is often cursed by power struggles. Commitment level dips to between 10 to 30%. -- Then they become a MAUSOLEUM - this is the one we would most commonly identify as the “dead church.”

People have drifted away or died. Attendance levels are at the lowest levels and new people - when they show up - are normally viewed skeptically; they are not welcomed, because they might change things in the church. Or to put it another way, churches go from INCLINE to RECLINE to DECLINE.

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