Jim Collins is known for a couple of different books, Good to Great, and Built to Last. However, there is another short little read he has called "How the Mighty Fall." This particular volume talks about the rise and fall of really huge companies.
As a pastor, and now a denominational employee, I could not help but see in this book several ways where the church could learn a great lesson. One of the biggest ways Collins points out that the mighty fall is when a company stops tending to the thing that made it great. He gives several examples of this and it is worth the read.
The church of Jesus Christ is to be a place where people are saved, disciple, loved on, cared about and then sent into the world to be a minister/missionary, giving away the love of Christ in powerful ways. Yet, many times what happens is that we begin to neglect the main thing and instead opt for a "country club" feel that even though others are allowed to come and join in, we are not going to go to them.
If a church ever loses its focus as a mission-sending organization to its community, then that church has lost its main purpose and will soon begin to see a decline. If having great music, making sure the carpet is clean, and making sure the chairs are set up for the latest fellowship ever become the main focus of the church then a church has lost its true identity.
There is nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, in a quest for excellence, a church should work to make sure they are done. But the main thing, the key component, must be sending its members out each and every week to be the presence of Christ to its community.
For more information about how your church can be commissioned as missionaries to your community (a way to refocus, if necessary, and an encouragement to those who are doing the work), please contact me.