Is Your Attitude Killing Your Church?

I was preaching a few Sundays ago in a church with two services.

One was very lively. “AMEN!” and “Praise God!” were called out during the sermon. During the worship, people had raised hands, and loud voices of praise were heard. In the invitation time, the altar was full.

The other service was the opposite. The sermon time felt like I was preaching to the valley of dry bones. Worship felt sterile and cold. Invitation time came and the people were ready to leave.

Same church, the same morning, same sermon, same worship. What was different? The attitude of the people. 

A congregation’s attitude can change the feeling of a room and the temperature of the church. The people’s attitude can set the church into orbit or put it in the grave. Today, we are going to discuss the negative side of church attitudes. We are going to discuss the attitudes that can kill a church.

The Unfaithful Attitude – “That won’t work.” 

I remember attending a business meeting as a new Christian. More than the meeting, I remember the feeling of despair I left with like it was yesterday. We were discussing how to reach more students for Christ, and the congregation was throwing out ideas. As the youngest one in the room, I had some critical insights into high school students that the people needed to hear. At that time, I was about two years out of high school, and like most twenty-year-olds, I thought I had all the answers to life. I cannot remember what ideas I introduced but what I do remember is the response of the older church members in the meeting. “That won’t work.”

Just like that, my ideas were dismissed in three words. Granted, my ideas could have been horrible. I cannot remember. But it was not the ideas that killed the conversation. It was the attitude with which they were killed. My suggestions were met with an immediate lack of faith and a negative spirit. Let me tell you, I have seen this attitude over and over in churches, and nothing will kill a church faster than a lack of faith and a negative spirit.

The Consumer Attitude – “I don’t want to work.”

Another attitude that can be detrimental to a church is the consumer-driven attitude. Unfortunately, one of the adverse effects of the seeker sensitive movement was the production of church consumers. Church consumers are those people who believe the church exists to serve them and meet their preferences or desires. They believe that serving is a part of their responsibilities only if it appeases their passions and is not too inconvenient. The typical attitude from these churchgoers when they are called to the mission is, “I don’t want to work.” Granted, they may not phrase it that way the attitude is still present. However they communicate it, they only want to get involved if it benefits them.

The Apathetic Attitude – “I won’t work.”

This attitude can present itself in a multitude of ways. For some of the older generation, it may come from a sense of accomplishment. They may feel that they have done their time and it is now time to retire from church. For the younger generations, this may present itself through their lifestyle. For them, the church may be another activity to participate in to which they do not feel a need to contribute. Because the church is about them, they refuse to invest in the life of the church.

While this mindset can be practiced by all ages, the sentiment is the same. By their attitude, they declare, “I don’t care if the church thrives or dies. I won’t work. What happens next is up to God.” This understanding of the church is much like the previous mindset but takes a step further. The apathetic attitude is more than a consumer-driven attitude. It is a declaration of rebellion. The church is not an organization about which we do not care. The church is a family of Christians passionate about loving God and others. To that end, we care greatly.

The Uninformed Attitude – “I don’t know why we work.”

The final attitude we will cover is the uninformed attitude that most young Christians have. Because the next generation has been raised in a church culture of consumer-driven experiences, many do not know why they would get involved in a church. They are not trying to frustrate more mature Christians intentionally by their lack of service. They do not understand why they should serve.

An uninformed attitude in the church is dangerous. If this problem is left unchecked, it will spin out of control. If this attitude is never addressed, who will lead the church in the future? Who will be the church in the world? The church will suffer greatly if the uninformed remain ignorant.

Church family, let’s check our attitudes when it comes to how we conduct ourselves with our brothers and sisters. Let’s not let our attitudes stand in the way of what the Lord would do in our churches. Let’s have a Christlike attitude that would glorify our savior.

This week’s blog may seem a little bleak as we have discussed some actual problem attitudes within the church. There are several questions that we should all consider as we move forward.

  1. Do I have any of these attitudes? – Everyone has an attitude. Even the pastor of the church can have one of these. How is your attitude when it comes to church?
  2. Does someone I know display these attitudes? – Do you know someone who is killing the church with their attitude? How can you encourage them to change their attitude?
  3. How can we encourage other church members to begin with the correct attitude?

Next week’s blog will address each of these attitudes with prescriptive corrections. Make sure to subscribe to our email list and get notified when it is released.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: