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Several years ago, I posted on "Signs of Mediocrity in a Church." Today, I add to that list other signs I've seen as a church consultant:

  1. They haven't tackled any "God-sized" task in years. That is, they're going through the motions, doing things as they've always done them—and they wouldn't know what to do if God did something not already planned in their weekly bulletin.
  2. Prayer is perfunctory, not passionate and powerful. You can usually tell when that's the case, too. Folks pray, but they do it because that's what they're supposed to do—and it's usually only in response to something wrong.
  3. They provide no training for workers. If you put workers in place but don't expect them to be trained (in fact, not even offer them any training), you can't expect them to improve much.
  4. Nobody's asking about the lack of growth or baptisms. The church isn't reaching anybody, but nobody seems aware or concerned enough to ask, "Why?" Status quo is apparently acceptable.
  5. They've come to be OK with "I really didn't have time to prepare this week. ..." I realize that life does occasionally hinder our preparation, but some churches almost expect some of their leaders to make this statement.
  6. No small groups are reproducing themselves. That's often because the leaders and groups have grown comfortable with where they are. Nobody wants to move out, so everybody settles.
  7. They have stopped challenging members to increase the sacrifice of their giving. Too many members never deepen their sacrifice because the church never lays that challenge before them. Whatever they gave years ago is still acceptable today.
  8. They fight change just because it's change. They can't explain why they're opposed to the change; they just are—and nothing ever improves.
  9. Excellence is apparently not the goal. Whether it's the preaching, the music, the facility, the programs or whatever the church is doing, members seem to think they can do less than their best for the glory of God.
  10. They tend to judge other churches. Churches living in mediocrity don't improve; they just make themselves feel better by tearing down other congregations.

What other signs have you seen?

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.

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