Bill Campbell

Thoughts of Life and Ministry


There are many established congregations today. Briefly described, these are congregations that have existed for a rather significant period of time. The duration of their existence has caused them, through a gradual process, to become sluggish and stagnant. Over time they have assumed this paralyzed posture, as they have evolved into a comfortable religious rut. Some of these congregations have simply become plateaued. Others have reversed themselves completely, and are on the slippery slope of decline.

Congregations in the category just described, have some identifiable characteristics or traits to be noted. Among these identifying marks are the following:

  • These congregations are in need of a serious turnaround. A need of being reinvigorated. Re-energized. This is due to their being at a standstill or going backwards. They lack a sense of direction and purpose.
  • They are heavily maintenance oriented organizations in place of being ministry oriented organisms. They are more about form than they are function.
  • Though they need to experience a spiritual turnaround, they’ve slowly evolved into a passive religious posture that has become their entrenched and accepted comfort zone.
  • Congregations that are in need of a turnaround are predictably bothered by perpetual warfare. Internal fussing and fighting. This internal disease has caused them to lose sight of their major purpose: Glorifying God through the process of making disciples.
  • Leaders in these congregations function more often as meeting executives, rather than intentionally moving themselves and the membership into active ministry. As a result, they are experiencing death by countless routine meetings in which they are being lulled to sleep.
  • Falling into deep established ruts is another issue for these congregations. Encouragements to emerge out of these ruts are not welcomed. In fact, they are more often than not avoided, or politely ignored.
  • Doing church is viewed as an inward function and lacks external expression. Church is about what members want, and is not about what is necessary to attract the unchurched who are outside their walls.
  • Discipleship is absent. Church is about attending and participating in all the scheduled meetings. Members are expected to participate in all the scheduled gatherings, but are not equipped to engage in making disciples, the ultimate function and ministry of the church.
  • Members are not enabled to serve the Lord and one another according to their God given abilities and gifts. They are assigned a church job, or simply end up doing nothing more than sitting on a church pew. Little do these congregations understand that turning members into pew sitters results in losing them to a congregation where their giftedness can find better expression.
  • Becoming a turnaround congregation though is not something achieved overnight. A congregation did not arrive in this negative posture overnight. Thus, turnarounds will require patience along with well understood and communicated intentions. Specifically, a passive congregation will need a mindset change that can only take place over time before they can function faithfully and responsibly as a turnaround fellowship.

More definitely needs to be offered here from the solution perspective. And this solution portion will be forthcoming in the next blog. Yet, before this healing step can emerge and be set in motion, a congregation needs to first see their present positioning clearly, before they can take steps tward being a turnaround church.


April 3, 2013 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Outreach, Relationships, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality | Leave a comment