Have you ever known you had a problem but struggled to understand how you got there? Sometimes solutions are easy to recognize. If you break a leg, you need to wear a cast. Other times, however, it’s not so clear cut.

But one thing is true. If you don’t know what caused a problem, it can be hard to fix.

Churches sometimes go from being effective witnesses in the community to ineffective ones. Why? The reasons are varied and many.

Here are a few of the most common reasons:

1. Leaders don’t practice what they preach: Church leaders sometimes lose their burden for unbelievers, causing the people to follow in their path.

2. Buildings and programs become more important than people.

3. Finances are lacking and the first place that the budget is cut is normally evangelism.

4. A church focuses so inwardly on the needs of their own people they lose their outward focus on the needs of non-Christians.

5. There is no training in evangelism so the people do not know how to talk to others about Christ or overcome their fears.

6. Materialism creeps into the lives of church members, causing them to concentrate on what they have instead of who they know.

7. Bible study becomes an end instead of a means, causing believers to learn for learning sake but not outreach sake.

8. Complacency and laziness take their toll, keeping people inside their comfort zones instead of moving them outside of their comfort zones.

9. Church members take their eyes off Christ and onto Christians, thus focusing on church members over and above following Christ.

10. Believers do good things and stand up for worthy causes without sharing the ultimate and eternal hope we can have through Christ.

11. Earnest prayer for God’s direction for the church, its leadership, and congregation is lacking.

(Note: This post was adapted from an article in The Evangelism Study Bible.) 

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