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Dr. Ed Stetzer directs church planting for the Southern Baptist Convention, one of the largest denominations in the country. He writes: "Harold stood up, paused for a moment, and began to speak softly, 'We don't want our church to die. We'll do what it takes.' That was when I first knew the church could make it. The well-respected deacon and pillar of the church spoke from his heart. He really meant it -- and he spoke for the church...Like many Southern Baptist [congregations], they had their heyday in the 50s and 60s... But a church that once served hundreds (and had the building to prove it) now averaged thirty-five on a Sunday morning...Over time, most churches plateau and most eventually decline. Typically they start strong or experience periods of growth, but then stagnate. Patterns and traditions that once seemed special eventually lose their meaning. Churches that were once outwardly-focused eventually become worried about the wrong things."

SOURCE: "Finding New Life for Struggling Churches," (SBC LIFE, the Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention)

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