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Are You Planting ‘End-of-Life’ Churches?

cycle_pic1Does it bother you when a manufacturer designs its product so that it breaks down after a specific amount of time?  Does that seem immoral to you?  Maybe you are fastidious at taking care of things and tend to get more life out of your possessions than the average person.  Right now, I’m writing this blog on a computer that has a battery health of 80%.  It means that no matter how conscious I am in taking care of the battery, it will eventually lose its ability to recharge and will have to be replaced.  

End-of-life (EOL) is a term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is in the end of its useful life, and a vendor will no longer be marketing, selling, or sustaining it. The vendor may also be limiting or ending support for the product.

When it comes to planting churches, I don’t believe anyone purposefully builds in End-of-life components, but it sure seems that many churches do outlive their usefulness.  When we come at church planting from a manufacturer’s or vendor’s perspective, should we be surprised?  When we design a product to be consumed instead of a community in which we can contribute, it’s no wonder that churches begin to die the moment they’re conceived.  

Jesus said to Make Disciples. (Matthew 28:19,20).  He also said that He would build His Church. (Matthew 16:18).  It appears as if a majority of the churches in the last 100 years had it backwards.  Constructing/Building the church is done “in hope of” making disciples.  That is a manufacturer’s approach.  In order for a manufacturer to stay in “business,” they must upgrade their designs/products, continually add to their inventory, and always change their marketing strategies.  

I believe there are many components that are being thrown in to modern church planting that result in a premature End-of-life condition.  Over the next few posts, I’ll be identifying those components.  For now, a few questions:

1.  What is a church plant?

2.  How do you know when your church has outlived its usefulness?

3.  What, in your opinion might be an End-of-life component built into modern churches? 

 

 

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    1. Sondra August 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      Wow… What an interesting concept! One key difference between churches and products in this consideration is that the manufacturer assumes an EOL timeframe because they intend to come out with a new product that they’ll want to steer you to. Sadly, most churches don’t incorporate that idea of refreshing themselves, so when/if they somehow outlive their usefulness (or some aspect of their operation does,) they just continue on anyway.

    2. Marshall August 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      There have been a few “church planting” movements delivering a practical obsolescence philosophy, such as informing the members that they could expect their gathering to persist for only a few years.

      ekklesia cannot truly host or submit to an end-of-life component; ekklesia is not temporal or mortal, unless it simply is not in Christ. Instead, there are penetrating examples of sheep-scattering. Surely our Father uses all these for good, though we would not wish to be among those who willfully scatter the flock of God.

      ekkelsia may move, though not by “outlived its usefulness”. How may the government of God outlive usefulness in any place?

      looking forward to your “premature End-of-life condition” notes, Miguel.

    3. David Woods August 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      ” What, in your opinion might be an End-of-life component built into modern churches? ”

      The concept of a church having “a” pastor (when half the church is capable of delivering a descent sermon).

      When we all learn from each other, we can all grow in Christ. When all learn from one pastor, they all grow into him.

      • David Woods August 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

        ” How do you know when your church has outlived its usefulness?”

        When you are “out-learning” them in their teaching. When their teaching becomes so much milk and you need more and more meat.

        Churches should strive for this. It should be a church’s goal to “outlive it’s usefulness” for each individual parishioner the same way a college professor outlives his usefulness for each student. It should be constantly training and sending, while constantly accepting new converts that need to “be fed” more milk.

        The whole concept of trying to “keep congregants” in order to build a bigger and bigger church is a business model, not a Kingdom model, and will only result in a well-run business at best.

        Bottom line, if your church is NOT constantly outliving it’s usefulness, it has outlived it’s usefulness.

        • David Woods August 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

          “What is a church plant?”

          For most western churches, it’s “your butt in a pew”

          Kingdom model, it falls from a mature tree, dies to itself, is nourished back to a new life, grows and matures, and then learns to reach for the light for itself. What most people call the church, is merely the water, soil, and nutrients for the new “plant”.

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