Plenty of people have different quotes and opinions on when a church becomes ineffective. I find most of them to be ecclesiologically unsound because they put the church-emphasis toward practicality, when the church is first a people group. Therefore, an ineffective or dying church must result from a lack of community within the body, not ineffective sermons, music, or ministries, which is where we often put the emphasis instead.
It’s easy for us to point the finger to the senior pastor’s sermons, or the music that no one enjoys as to why a church struggles, but I believe those frustrations within people all stem from a lack of authentic relationships within the church body.
Certainly I think churches should do well in their sermons, music, and ministries, otherwise, why have them? But they are not the focus of church. I appreciated this quote I came across in some of my reading recently (it also seems to fit well with another quote I’ve highlighted before). I think it captures the heart of what truly ineffective church is.
“In our day, whenever the church is ineffective in its witness and remains unproductive, the first questions that must be raised are whether the church functions as authentic community and whether it lives out the reality of its oneness. In a community-starved world, the most potent means of witness to the truth of the gospel is the magnetic power of the oneness that was committed by Christ to his new community at the center of history” (Bilezikian, Community 101, pg 37).