20/20 Vision

Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Part 4

Philippians 1:3-11

The problems, so far:

1. Slow Erosion
2. The Past is the Hero
3. The Church Refused to Look Like the Community
4. The Budget Moved Inwardly
5. The Great Commission becomes the Great Omission
6. The Preference-Driven Church
7. Pastoral Tenure Decreases

Problem #8: The Church Rarely Prayed Together

Praying together leads to vision.
Vision leads to God's priorities.

Proverbs 29:18 KJV
Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepth the law, happy is he.

If our priorities are right (if they are God's) we shouldn't obsess over anything.

Acts 4:31 NIV
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Philippians 4:6 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Problem #9: The Church had no clear purpose.

Luke 19:10 NIV
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

The mission of the United Methodist Church:
To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


We have a history of being confused about this.

"A church without a gospel-centered purpose is no longer a church at all." (Rainer, p. 75)

JAM – 64 children
Trinity Preschool – 79
TLC Children's Place – 91
VBS, Soccer, Kids' Worship, ACE, ROCK

Matthew 19:13-14 NIV
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on themand pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Problem #10: The Church obsessed over facilities.

Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

People love things (and buildings), but God loves people.