Friday, May 30, 2014

Rainer writes 'autopsy' of 'deceased' churches

By Thom S. Rainer

The church was dying and didn't know it. Attendance was down, the building was mostly empty, and the glory days had long since passed.

As a last resort, a church member asked LifeWay Christian Resources' president, Thom S. Rainer, for advice. Rainer spent a few weeks studying the church, then recommended a number of changes.

But church leaders rejected them. 

As he walked out the door, Rainer knew it was simply a matter of time before the church died. Later, he and a friend performed a kind of autopsy on the church -- reviewing its last few years for what went wrong. 

Lessons from that church autopsy -- along with about a dozen others -- are included in Rainer's latest book, "Autopsy of a Deceased Church" from LifeWay's B&H Publishing imprint.

The book is meant for struggling and vibrant churches alike, Rainer said. "Even healthy churches need to learn from autopsies," he said, "because they can tell us paths of prevention."