In the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Transitional Pastor Training, Ken Priddy described the stages in the life of a local church—incline, recline, and decline—and presented some tell-take signs of a declining church.
“A church on the incline is usually driven by vision, while a church on the decline becomes structure-driven. In the absence of vision and programs, church leaders tend to keep the machinery running—having the meetings and the things that are already in place. But they don’t do it with much impact.”
He also noted that while inclining churches are more likely to be innovative in methodology, a declining church tends to be complacent and lapse into routine.
“Not complacent like ‘we don’t care,’ but complacent in the sense that they don’t have the wherewithal to make it any different.”
Priddy’s session was part of the all-day training workshop for Transitional Pastors. He is Team Leader for the EPC’s Church Revitalization Task Force and Executive Director of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic’s GO Center.