5 Things that can Ruin a Church

5 things that can ruin a church2I do not believe people come to church to ruin the church intentionally. From what I have observed in churches though, many can ruin a church or a ministry unintentionally. It might not be something that they set out to do, but it is something that they unintentionally may fall into.

Here is a  short post on things that can ruin a church.

  • Division among Members – This is an obvious one. Division can ruin any business or any church. People tend to believe 100% that they are right when they may be looking at their preference from a biased point of view. In order to offset division, members must be committed to putting other people ahead of themselves. When church is about  an individual and what they want, division will occur and it can ruin a church.
  • Lack of Support for the Senior Pastor – This is arguably the one that can ruin a church as much as anything else on this list. Pastors must do well to receive the people’s trust. It takes time. I get that, but people must be responsible as well for their Biblical mandate to support their pastor. Many times when people do not support their pastor, it is for preferential or traditional reasons.
  • Tradition – Pastors hear the phrase “that’s the way we have always done it” all of the time. This is a phrase that can destroy the church from being what God intends for it to be. Tradition can destroy the church. Your message never changes,  but your methods can and should. In my experience, people not wanting methods to change is more common than people getting upset over message changes. If your message begins to change, get out and find a new Gospel centered church, but embrace changing some of your methods to reach people in today’s culture.
  • Lack of Engaging the Youth – If you want your church to die an early death, do not engage youth. If you only cater to the older members, your church is headed for an early death. You must engage your teens and college students. Challenge them, train them, and allow them to lead and volunteer. If you do not allow the younger generation to be engaged in the church, they will leave and find a church that does allow them to engage, or they will leave the church completely!
  • Dictatorial Pastoral Leadership – We have talked much about how members can ruin a church, but pastors can ruin churches as well. Many times, the pride of pastors can enter the church and destroy it. Pastors, never forget who voted you into the position, and remember they can also vote you out. Do not be a dictator. Sometimes you have to put what you want to the side, and allow the members preference and desire to prevail. Do not come to a church to try to completely change the church. This is how pastors can destroy the churches.

Bottom line, to avoid any of these items, put other people before yourself.


13 thoughts on “5 Things that can Ruin a Church

  1. I would add: Pastoral revolving door/no consistency; Refusing to teach the full gospel: Both the good news (salvation through Christ alone) and the bad news (our sinfulness and need of a savior); No change in elder leadership/no new blood on the board; Lack of clear communication with the congregation regarding important decisions the board makes.

  2. I could also mention a few: (1) Lack of spirit filled people who seek to please God. So many are carnal and think and act (and speak) in the flesh, and that destroys a church. (2) People hating each other/no love between the brethren. (3) Arrogance in the pulpit and leadership, whether that is the pastor or lay leaders. (4) envy between members. (5) lack of soul winning, (6) Lack of prayer, or a de-emphasis or low emphasis on prayer. Besides lacking emphasis, there is also the lack of faith that prayer changes things in the people and leadership. (7) A rejection of the authority of Scripture which is most often seen in fixing problems with good ideas that have no basis in the Bible. The exaltation of men’s opinions rather than thus saith the Lord. (8) milk-toast men and women taking over the leadership and control of the work of the Lord. (9) low standards for those in leadership, speaking, teaching, and preaching position. (10) a loss of the mission of the church, i.e. to win souls to Christ through presenting clearly and directly the plan of salvation, and then disciplining the converts in your own local church..

  3. Mr. Evans, I would offer you a minority report regarding your message.

    #1 Creating division. A major problem I see in churches is the resistance to allowing discussion of a topic that does not “toe the line” of accepted church doctrine. This unwillingness to allow questions and discussion squelches a person feeling safe to ask questions, and therefore learn. The result: people shop for the church which supplies what they believe; there is no “iron sharpening iron”; and sanctification is a word that people talk about but never live out.

    #2 and #5 are flip sides of the same coin. Telling people they are to “support” the authority of the pastor and somehow expect a pastor (who is just as human as the rest of us) not to overstep or even abuse this position of dictatorial power simply flies in the face of logic. Though there are verses which can be interpreted to support the concept of a senior pastor, there are also verses that support the concept of elders being the authority under Christ, who is the head. A pastor who respects the authority of Scripture is less likely to want to place himself as the authority in place of Christ, avoiding the problems mentioned in sections 2 and 5.

    #3 The problem of tradition has been with us for thousands of years, it being one of the major complaints of Jesus during his earthly ministry. His answer was to not change up the methods for maintaining the traditions, but to abandon anything that was not in the word of God. How much of what is common to modern church practice would pass muster to Christ were he to show up for inspection today?

    #4 Lastly the idea of engaging the youth. Sounds great on the surface, but in practice is a huge failure, considering how the majority abandon the faith as soon as they go to college or go to work in the world. The entertainment factor in church pales when challenged by the entertainment factor of the world. What does the Bible say for youth? The fathers are to teach their sons. (Deut 6 and elsewhere) The older women are to mentor the younger. (from Paul’s letters) Instead we find churches where the seniors go here, the marrieds meet in that room, the college crowd hangs there, and the teens hide from everyone. Instead of discipling our youth through interaction with adults, we think entertaining them with slightly older and very cool young people will somehow make a difference.

    What is a major theme of the Bible? The disobedience and rebellion of God’s people. It’s just as true today as it was two thousand years ago. Do we continue supporting a failed model, contrary to God’s word? Or do we start talking about the truth of God’s word, and being obedient to what he commands us to do? Which do you think is the true cause of a weak and ineffective church?

    1. These are practical points that are supported in Scripture. Wrote to the church who should be aware of the points mentioned. Thx for the tips for future posts though for sure.


  4. apathy is another element. Some of the 5 points make some major assumptions about the church, like “lack of support for the pastor.” Assumption is the pastor runs (ruins) the church.

    1. Christopher, I agree that apathy is a major issue for sure. Look, the pastor should not be a dictator and rule the church. Christ is the head of the church, but the congregation has a biblical obligation to support the pastor as he follows the Lord.


  5. I think these destructive ways discussed are totally valid and will be helpful for the church to examine-all except the one about how the pastor can ruin the church. While I do agree that the pastor should not be a dictator, I do whole heartedly believe that the pastor is to be the LEADER of the congregation. I am very concerned about the message you are leaving concerning the pastor being voted in and out so the pastor needs to consider giving the members what they want and not to change the church. I fully disagree with this concept. This is why churches should not be allowed to vote a pastor in, they should instead be appointed. Many times, the entrance of a new pastor means a new direction for the church. The congregation should never hold more power than the pastor and this is exactly what happens when the pastor has the fear of being voted out over their heads. The pastor should be free to hear from God and lead the congregation into whatever direction God says. While I do not believe in pridefulness on the part of the pastor to the point that he or she totally ignores the concerns of the congregation, neither do I believe that the pastor should ever be put into the position of compromising on God’s direction because the congregation does not accept it. It is the job of the pastor to lead and it is the job of the congregation to follow. Prayer and discussion will solve and points of contention between the pastor and the congregation.

    1. I agree with you, but it appears that you likely have been on the opposite side of what I have experienced. I experienced a pastor one time who was a dictator and completely changed the church without consulting the people, and he did take the church into the ground. I have also sat on your side as well where people did not follow their God appointed leader, and that is a problem as well. There is a healthy balance. The Bible gives instruction to the pastor as well as the church members.


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