One of the first vehicles I ever owned was a 1984 Jeep Cherokee. I loved that jeep, the only problem was the manual transmission. I had never really driven a 5-speed before. On the day I got it, I picked up a couple of friends and we decided to go to McDonalds (our local hangout). Getting there was a breeze…it was a straight shot and I didn’t have to navigate any hills.
The challenge came when we had to leave the McDonalds parking lot. In order to get to the main road, you had to drive up a steep side street. It didn’t matter that the jeep had four-wheel drive, given my inadequacies in using a clutch, this became a huge problem. As soon as I tried to pull out and head up the hill, the jeep started to rattle violently until the engine stalled. I firmly pressed the break with my right foot and the clutch with my left. After restarting the car, I released the brake as fast as I could, slammed on the accelerator, and let off on the clutch…only to have the jeep jump two feet off the ground and stall again. I quickly realized we weren’t going anywhere. The excitement of taking my buddies on a joy ride had been replaced with sick feeling of being stuck.
The same thing can happen in our churches. They start out headed in a clear direction. Lives are being changed. People are coming to know Christ. Then all of a sudden the pastor, staff, and leaders find themselves stuck!
I was recently reading “Dangerous Church” by John Bishop. In his book, John gives three signs that indicate that a church is stuck:
- Church Attendance Plateaus – if people are not showing up to your church, it’s a good indication that something is wrong.
- You Stop Hearing Stories of Life Change – you may be good at giving people information, but Jesus wasn’t about imparting knowledge; he was about transformation. If you’re not hearing stories of the life-transforming power of God’s Word, you’re probably stuck.
- People Do Not Invite Their Friends – you’re people may say they love your church, they may even tithe to your church, but if they are not inviting their friends to your church…you’re stuck!
How about your church? Do you have a feeling that you’re stuck? If so, I challenge you to get with the leaders and have honest conversations about where you are and begin coming up with solutions to get unstuck. God wants your church to be a place where lives are changed, and people encounter a real relationship with Jesus. Don’t settle for being stuck!
If you’ve gotten your church unstuck, share with us what you did to get your church moving again.