Is it Time to Call Hospice for your Church? A Quick List of the Vital Signs

The human body has five main organs (brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs). Lose one of those organs and you’re dead. Similarly, the church body will die if its vital organs are not functioning. I’m not talking about the church sanctuary’s Hammond decorated with plastic flowers—circa 1974, but the vital factors that keep a church alive. From time to time, churches would benefit from having a spiritual checkup and determine how its major organs are working.

Make a call to hospice if you see problems with the following:

Lungs… keep fresh air in the body.
One quick way for a church to see an early grave is to have stale programs and ministries. No fresh ideas. No new breezes of evangelism, outreach or mission. With no fresh faces coming through the doors (or more accurately stated, not coming back after one visit), call the doctor, it won’t be long.

Kidneys… essential in eliminating waste.
Much like the flowers on top of the old Hammond organ, eliminating outdated and ineffective ministries is essential to health in the body. Some ministries run their course. Methods (not message) must change to reach an ever-changing world. If it’s no longer working, eliminate it.

Heart… keeps the blood pumping through the body.
Just as a heart pumps oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, a healthy church will pump meaning, spiritual development and service opportunities to its members. If the Great Commission is not happening, check the church’s pulse. Dying churches don’t baptize or disciple new believers.

Liver… filters the blood and keeps the body pure.
One sure way to put a church of life support is impure leadership. Secret sins among the pastors and leaders are as deadly to a church body as d-CON is to the church mouse.

Brain… our body’s computer.
Not all church failures are the result of sin or the lack of new ideas. Some churches fail because of poor decisions, little planning and bad economics. Many churches fail to recover from faulty financial decisions or the failure to recognize soon enough a changing church economic outlook.

In short, churches on hospice care are churches with:
a) no fresh ideas (lungs);
b) refuse to unload outdated programs or methods (kidneys),
c) offer little spiritual nutrition to the remaining members (heart);
d) have purity issues in leadership (liver), and/or
e) make poor decisions (brain).

If any one of these vital organ functions fail, the church is in real trouble. If two or more are kaput, call a priest it’s time to administer last rites.

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