Six Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Church

A dysfunctional church is a congregation that no longer carries out essential biblical purposes

What is a dysfunctional church? By definition, it is a congregation that no longer carries out essential biblical purposes. In other words, the church does not function properly; it is thus dysfunctional….In my quest, I found six recurring themes. In every one of the congregations, the church manifested at least three of these symptoms.

 

….So what is a dysfunctional church? By definition, it is a congregation that no longer carries out essential biblical purposes. In other words, the church does not function properly; it is thus dysfunctional.

Unfortunately, I did not have to look far to find over 20 current examples of dysfunctional churches. In my quest, I found six recurring themes. In every one of the congregations, the church manifested at least three of these symptoms.

  1. Severe theological errors are pervasive in the church….These errors to which I refer were denials of the essential truths of the Christian faith.
  2. The church is known as a “pastor-eater.” The congregation often terminated pastors on a regular basis.
  3. The congregation experiences severe conflict…. dysfunctional churches take conflicts to a new level, often resulting in emotional outbursts by members and leaders.
  4. Hardly anyone in the community knows the church exists. 
  5. The church is declining while the community is growing…. The contrast between the two growth rates is stark, a symptom of a dysfunctional church.
  6. The church is “family owned and family operated.” ….The church exists largely to meet the needs of one family.

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