I am no expert but I believe there are trends. Local churches and pastors appear to struggle when they embrace the following four practices:
- Live Streaming.
This seems odd, right? Live-steaming kept many churches alive during the pandemic. But we have noticed that since then, streaming church services may be actually hurting those same churches, for two reasons:
- The temptation is to exaggerate the number of people who are really benefitting from the live streams.
- Pastors begin to communicate with the camera at the expense of connecting with the people right in front of them.
And that can lead to lack of authentic community. Superficial relationships begin to take the place of authenticity.
- Lack of focus on the Main Purpose of the Church.
Churches don’t appear to be asking themselves often enough, “What are we doing?” “What is our Main Purpose?” Are we focused on “Making disciples who in turn make other disciples?”
- Love of the Church Building and Traditions
Church members can feel guilt – thinking they are being traitors to previous generations – when something has to change in order to continue to fulfill the purpose of the church. Before long the building and traditions can become “the tail wagging the dog.”
- Emphasis on attendance.
The Sunday attendance often becomes an obsession for pastors and also church members. It can become the emotional barometer for everyone each Sunday. Are there not as many people here this week? What’s wrong? Who is failing? A whole Sunday can feel discouraging.