REASONS WHY CHURCHES BECOME STALLED
By Ken Blue
As Joyce and I traveled from Seattle to Phoenix, we noticed several cars stalled along the interstate. Some had flat tires and the drivers were in the process of installing their spare. On the Grapevine, we saw a car stalled with steam boiling from under the hood; perhaps a blown water hose or a bad water pump was the problem. Another car was being loaded on a wrecker to be hauled away. Of course, we had no way of knowing what all the issues were, but we couldn’t help but notice them as we passed by. For some, the problem was obvious; for others, further investigation would be needed. A few appeared ready for the junkyard.
Several years ago, I arrived at church were some men were working on one of the church buses. They had taken the fuel line and the fuel pump off because gas was not getting to the carburetor. I ask, “Has anyone checked the gas tank?” They looked at each other for a moment; then they inserted a broom handle down the neck of the tank. It came out dry as a bone. They had worked for hours, while overlooking the obvious.
It is not always apparent why churches get stalled, but like the autos along the interstate, you don’t have to travel far before you spot them. It is important that a diagnosis be performed before you start dismantling the fuel lines and or removing carburetors. The question is, what are we apt to find when we search for reasons some churches get stalled?
Some stalled churches can’t be fixed. If enough people become unemployed or a city dries up, the only solution is to dissolve the church and move on.
A church may get stalled because of a split and a number of people leave. In that case, the answer is to pray down God’s blessings, preach sermons that are uplifting, and encourage the remaining members with a new vision of outreach and growth.
If the pastor becomes satisfied with the “status quo,” so will the members. Some pastors are content to have just enough members to pay the bills, while they keep the church just small enough to be a wonderful little family. This is where many churches are stalled today, and it is the sin of complacency that keeps them there. The pastor ought to get fired up about bringing in the lost or he ought to be fired!
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It is not always apparent why churches get stalled, but like the autos along the interstate, you don’t have to travel far before you spot them.[/pullquote]
Some pastors outstay their usefulness and the church begins to die with them. The pastor, who is up in years, must surround himself with a young staff if he expects the church to have new life and vitality. If the pastor is aged and all the members are senior citizens, the next step is the nursing home. Seniors must be pastored, but young adults should be evangelized. Once your church gets moving again, add a senior citizens ministry.
Sometimes the pastor simply needs to refocus and get a burning vision for outreach. Curtis Hutson said to his sectary, “I’m going to build another church.” She responded in surprise, “Where are you going to build it?” Curtis said he was going to build it right on top of the existing one.
One final cause for a stalled church may be attributed to an insufficient number of staff. Every pastor has a limit as to the number of people he can pastor. Some have suggested that there should be at least one pastoral staff for each 125 people. The pastor should take a serious look and see if a lack staff may be a cause for a lack of progress.
The owner of a stalled auto may not be a mechanic or know how to get the car moving again. but it is his responsibility to either fix it himself or find someone who can help him get it done. The pastor is responsible for the stalled church, and it is his duty to get it moving or find someone who can. There is no excuse to let a church remain in a stalled condition. If your church is stalled, you should set about to do everything you can to discover the problem, and then do everything you can to get it moving again.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.