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Many churches have long lost their focus on a clear mission that compels them forward. Here are some signs that a congregation is in mission drift.
- If the church has a mission statement, nobody knows it. That often includes the pastoral staff. The statement is only words on a website.
- No one can speak of a clear direction for the church. The goal is only to get through the next Sunday. Survival, rather than thriving, is the objective.
- Much other than the Great Commission has grabbed the attention of the church. Sometimes that’s simply trying to live in what is essentially “maintenance mode”; sometimes it’s continually dealing with internal conflict.
- The church speaks of the “good ole days” rather than hope for the future. That is, they’re living in the past with too little focus on the future. Change seldom happens.
- They can speak of no new outreach ministries in the last several years. They’ve turned inward, and they’re just not thinking much about the Great Commission.
- The church budget is just a document; it has no intentional Great Commission prioritization. In fact, it may be the same budget used for years, simply with annual increases with little rhyme or reason.
- The church hires positions just like they always have, without much consideration for the greatest need to help reach people and make disciples. They don’t think about what needs to change in staffing in order to fulfill their mission.
- In the name of “unity,” the church is unwilling to make hard decisions to get back on track with mission. Those tough decisions might involve staffing, spending, polity, or sacred cows—but nobody’s willing to make the call.
- The church has grown comfortable with only “transfer” growth. They’re no longer burdened about reaching non-believers. Growth by “swapping sheep” is sufficient for them.
- Outsiders see the church as only drifting along, but no one in the congregation is having that conversation.Sometimes, others read our situation more clearly than we who are most closely involved in it.
What other signs have you seen?