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Dead church?


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#1 EnglishMuffin

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 04:06 PM

What constitutes a 'dead church'? Is it something that can be quantified and agreed upon and thus worked out of? Or is it just a pejorative term for something you find personally boring? Or something else?
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#2 Blessed By His Grace

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 04:36 PM

Probably a combination of both! However someone who regularly attends a church and has done for years and knows everybody and is known by everybody may well perceive ANY other church as dead because they don't feel the fellowship they feel in their own church when visiting another church as a stranger.
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#3 Barbara

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 05:27 PM

I hope they wouldn't judge that quickly!

 

Not sure what a 'dead' church is because it would have to be without God and I don't know whether he does walk away?


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#4 Blossom

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 05:39 PM

Interesting, I think it probably means different things to different people, I would see it as a church that isn't growing spiritually, and whose teaching isn't helping people grow and continue on their own faith journey.


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#5 Blessed By His Grace

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 06:23 PM

I think a church seems dead if its congregation aren't growing to know God better, to have an increasing desire and hunger to worship Him and walk hand in hand with Him through life. Sunday Christians. But who knows what's in another person's heart or mind so I think it would be very difficult to discern whether a church is dead or not.
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#6 Dipsy

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 09:01 PM

Churches feel dead to me if there are only a few old ladies who go there, or if there is never any change or outreach, or if it is more about tradition than meeting with God.


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#7 EnglishMuffin

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 09:31 PM

I'm curious, for my own reasons, as to whether the judgement of church morbidity would be made after just one visit, or whether it's something discerned over time?
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#8 Barbara

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 09:55 PM

Is it for us to judge?


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#9 hepzibah

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 10:00 PM

Churches feel dead to me if there are only a few old ladies who go there, or if there is never any change or outreach, or if it is more about tradition than meeting with God.

 

Those churches which are mostly elderly are often full of faithful saints, left behind as trends change ... I've learned never to disparage the elderly who keep going year after year without encouragement or support. The elderly have coped with so much change already and we do well to honour them :)


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#10 hepzibah

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 10:05 PM

What constitutes a 'dead church'? Is it something that can be quantified and agreed upon and thus worked out of? Or is it just a pejorative term for something you find personally boring? Or something else?

 

I'm not sure I've ever described a church as 'dead' although now you mention it, I can think of one that may fit the description! I think most every church has someone there who knows and loves Jesus, even if they can't express it.

 

But I worry about churches where there is little 'fruit of the Spirit' in evidence. And those that like to talk about God but rarely mention Jesus

 

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Edited by hepzibah, 15 January 2017 - 10:05 PM.

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#11 Barbara

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 10:36 PM

I agree that there are churches that feel 'worrying' but I wouldn't call them dead.


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#12 Noo

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 11:06 PM

I think a lot of people use the term 'dead' when a church is resistent to change and the person finds they don't engage with the style of worship / fellowship.
I guess it is sometimes used for describing churches as it can be for town centres etc.

Personally I try not to use it - because there is always the possibility of revival or of a church bearing fruit despite not ticking other Christians' boxes.
As an example of this, when my parents moved up here they went to the local church but when they suggested something were told 'we don't do spiritual things here' :o
They moved on, and although from what they heard little changed in the years that followed, I now know someone who's faith and calling was nurtured there as a young man who went along there just a couple of years after my parents left (he's now a vicar)

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#13 bushmum

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 04:07 AM

I just read something on Facebook which follows on from a conversation I had earlier today. To paraphrase, our job is to preach / share the word, the results are not up to us. So perhaps a dead chruch is one which has no people. And the older I get the more I realise that just because a group of Christians don't do things the way I think church should be done does not mean it is wrong or dead.

Those churches which are mostly elderly are often full of faithful saints, left behind as trends change ... I've learned never to disparage the elderly who keep going year after year without encouragement or support. The elderly have coped with so much change already and we do well to honour them :)

Noddingly vigorously at this.

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#14 Blessed By His Grace

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 06:08 AM

I think there's much or some that I agree with in every single response here. But what I would say, is that anyone who says a church is dead is incredibly judgemental and harsh, and the comment says far more about the speaker than it does the reality or meaning of what they're saying. God is everywhere, and where He is, there is life.

Edited by Blessed By His Grace, 16 January 2017 - 06:09 AM.

Mum to 3 adult children in their 20's and Nana to an adorable 2 year old granddaughter. Also Mum to a nutty Golden Retriever and 2 lovely but independent felines.

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#15 hepzibah

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 08:34 AM

I just read something on Facebook which follows on from a conversation I had earlier today. To paraphrase, our job is to preach / share the word, the results are not up to us. So perhaps a dead chruch is one which has no people. And the older I get the more I realise that just because a group of Christians don't do things the way I think church should be done does not mean it is wrong or dead. Noddingly vigorously at this.

 

No people - or no word ... when a church abandons the word of God, they won't hear Him speaking to them :(


Edited by hepzibah, 16 January 2017 - 08:34 AM.

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#16 Quiverful

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 09:24 AM

Lots of stuff I agree with here including the bit about the praying saints!

I think one definition I would use is a church which exists only for those who are already in it and has no desire to look outwards. It might be very successful as a club but unless it is particupating in the great commission, it's not a living church.

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#17 Blessed By His Grace

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 10:05 AM

I think that's what Dipsy was thinking of when talking about a church with only a small amount of older people.
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#18 Dipsy

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 12:13 PM

I think that's what Dipsy was thinking of when talking about a church with only a small amount of older people.

 

Yes, and I deliberately said "feels dead to me" not "is dead", to give a subjective answer. There are small village churches who are so low on numbers, that it is a monthly struggle to pay the bills, and so to a casual visitor, seem entirely focussed on fundraising for that. Objectively, I might argue that even a single believer attending a church means there is spiritual life there.


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#19 Geraldine

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 02:30 PM

Funnily enough dh and I were talking about this yesterday.  We live in a very small village where many of the homes which have been sold in recent years have become second/holiday homes so the full time population is decreasing.  Our church now has only 2 members who are under 50 years of age, a handful under 60 and the (roughly) 2 dozen remaining members being in their 70s and 80s (with a few over 90).  Nothing is being done to encourage young people or families in - no Sunday activities for children, no Messy Church or anything similar will be considered - we have a few christenings a year but nothing is done to then follow up with those families (in previous churches we have had an annual tea party when all those who have married or had children christened during that year are invited along with some of the regular church members)  Dh and I were wondering what will be happening 20 years from now if things continue the way they are currently - the congregation has gained no new members  but lost several in the 3 1/2 years we have been away - will the faith and prayer of those who attend now and have done for centuries be enough to keep a church in the village?  As far as finances go the "share" hasn't been paid in full for about 10 years to my knowledge and the upkeep costs of an 11th Century Grade 1* Listed church building are phenomenal!  There is also a Methodist Chapel in the village and they have just merged with another local chapel in order to have enough members to be able to survive - sadly neither chapel nor Church members will agree to a Methodist/Anglican merger which, to my mind, would ensure that at least one church could remain active in the village.  It all feels very sad and kind of scary really - what legacy will we be leaving for the generations to follow?


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#20 EnglishMuffin

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 02:56 PM

Yes, I think I agree resistance to outreach is unhealthy at the very least. But I've heard it used as a phrase in the past few days about a church with very many healthy outreaches to the community, both spiritual and charitable, just because the music ministry wasn't very adept on the day this person visited and the numbers present didn't fill the seats put out. 


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hp1.gifAslan is on the move!

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Whether we like it or not - We are LOVED; Fr. Thomas Hopko.




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