Today I give you this piece from Carey Niewhopf entitled “7 Signs Your Church Is Honestly Mediocre“. This is representative of where a goodly portion of the leadership in evangelicalism is these days. This quote encapsulates the gist of Niewhopf’s article:
When your church is mediocre, it should be no surprise unchurched people aren’t lining up to join you and that you’re not attracting and keeping the amazing leaders who might attend your church but don’t want to get involved because things are so sub-par.
…So, how do you know your church is mediocre? Here are 7 signs to look for.
1. You have non-singers singing and bad players playing
2. Bad Production
3. School Play Quality Live Streams
4. A Lame Website
5. Your Info Isn’t Current
6. You’re Resigned to This
7. You’re Afraid to Change
As Niewhopf develops each of these subpoints, it is clear that he is not calling for churches to go all big-budget and try desperately to live the sprawling suburban megachurch dream. Instead he is basically asking churches to just take a look at things through the eyes of outsiders and make some simple changes if necessary. For instance, he isn’t asking churches to go out and hire professional-grade musical talent, he is asking them to choose musicians who can actually carry a tune.
I get that. There are lots of churches out there that genuinely struggle with the issues Niewhopf enumerates. Many are powerless to do a thing about it without a lengthy business meeting featuring more violent deaths than a Game of Thrones episode. Many of you have probably been in such churches at some point. If I had been in such a church, I would be more sympathetic to Niewhopf’s point of view.
We live in an age in which 81 percent of American evangelicals are enthusiastically and unashamedly enamoured of a president whose message is the exact opposite of anything even remotely connected to Jesus Christ. The black evangelical universe is reeling from scandals involving T. D. Jakes, Eddie Long, and other prominent leaders in that world. The Catholic Church has a grease fire on its hands right now because of a basic failure to protect its youngest and most vulnerable members. Willow Creek, one of the largest and most influential churches in all of American evangelicalism, also has a grease fire on its hands because its leadership has taken a deny-everything-blame-the-victims-they’re-all-liars approach to handling allegations of sexual misconduct against its pastor Bill Hybels. The SBC just escorted Paige Patterson, one of its longest-tenured and most influential leaders, out of the building because a pattern of wrongheaded counsel to women in troubled marriages and failure to report domestic abuse made him too toxic to keep around. And over here we have John MacArthur waxing hypocritically about how social justice is the greatest threat to the Gospel while leaders from his Master’s University basically re-rape a rape victim and then respond with obfuscations and outright denials when she goes public with her story. And let’s not forget the completely and utterly contemptible act of caging immigrant children separate from their parents, with which 81 percent of American evangelicals seem perfectly okey-dokey.
And Carey Niewhopf says the real problem facing American churches is…wait for it…mediocrity.
Sorry people. I just had to get that out of my system.