Top Indicators of an Unhealthy Church

There are clear indicators of effective clergy that would ensure that she or he would receive an appointment regardless of whether her or his appointment is guaranteed in the United Methodist Church. There are also churches that are more and less healthy. In April, the Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church suggested that there are five areas to be measured in a church:

  • worship attendance
  • disciples engaged in mission
  • professions of faith
  • mission giving
  • spiritual / discipleship formation groups.

Unhealthy churches are those that are not breaking even or growing in these areas. Other, less official indicators include:

  • Requesting that 3 of the last 5 appointed pastors move in less than two years.
  • No clear mission or vision.
  • Unwelcoming to first time guests.

What would you add to this list?

Sports Fans and Church Attenders

I am a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.

This has been quite difficult this year. This past Sunday, Nicole and I went to the game vs. the San Diego Chargers. We received tickets from a staff member who has great season tickets – just a few rows up behind the Chiefs bench. We each had church responsibilities in the morning so made it out to the game late and it was frigid. Temperatures less than 20 degrees and a strong north wind. The stadium was probably not even 50% full by the end of the game.

I started to think about church attenders and how they are like sports fans.

  • If the experience is not good, people won’t come back.
  • Going to church and the game can be a social event. (Although, I have never seen tailgating at church, which could be interesting…)
  • When weather is bad some people will stay home.
  • Regardless of how bad the preaching, how much ice is on the ground or whether or not any one else is there – some people will be there every week.
  • Attendance at one can affect attendance at the other – church and sports games.

I am not sure if this is good or bad, but I was struck by the similarities.