I love the church and I want it to succeed. But we cannot be passive. Every church must work hard at staying healthy. Unhealthy churches eventually die. Here are 100 unhealthy practices that can lead to the death of your church.

  1. Avoid preaching the hard texts of Scripture.
  2. Refuse to exercise church discipline – it’s unloving.
  3. Ask for money a lot.
  4. Never ask for money.
  5. Only appoint your friends to leadership.
  6. Dress like a slob.
  7. Dress like a medieval monk.
  8. Counsel people that do not want to be counselled.
  9. Treat your kids ministry as a babysitting service.
  10. Use fake pictures on your promotional material that don’t reflect your church.
  11. Beg people who left your church to come back, or guilt-trip them to stay.
  12. Mimic some else’s preaching style.
  13. Appoint immature worship leaders provided that they’re good musicians.
  14. Rely on other churches to fund you.
  15. Only appoint wealthy people to leadership.
  16. Join whatever denominational groups that will give you money.
  17. Remain socially disengaged from cultural crises.
  18. Work hard competing with other churches for transient Christians.
  19. Meet in a shabby building that makes you look humble.
  20. Meet in a glamorous building that makes you look materialistic.
  21. Worry about getting sued.
  22. Take a stand on things that God doesn’t even care about.
  23. Define your worship by a style rather than substance.
  24. Let unrepentant people serve in the ministry.
  25. Give week-old Christians equal say to spiritual veterans – go democracy!
  26. Pay your staff peanuts.
  27. Pay your staff exorbitant salaries.
  28. Divide everyone up into demographic groups so people have no mentors or disciples.
  29. Just copy what other churches do.
  30. Fail to teach children to memorize Scripture.
  31. Treat your key leaders like corporate executives.
  32. Leave your church whenever it gets difficult.
  33. Don’t review anyone’s ministry – that’s between them and God.
  34. Keep your membership requirements very, very low.
  35. Make service in ministry optional.
  36. Use the word “annual” a lot.
  37. React to every insult and attack.
  38. Clutter up your social media with worship glam shots so you look hip.
  39. Use prayer like caulking – to fill in the gaps here and there.
  40. Serve cheap food.
  41. Take it personally whenever people leave.
  42. Send people on short-term mission trips to fix them spiritually.
  43. Charge money for everything.
  44. Keep all events free – it’s more spiritual that way.
  45. Let people direct their donations to their favourite ministry.
  46. Don’t bother with a budget.
  47. Find a pastor with an androgynous personality.
  48. Apologize a lot – it sounds humble.
  49. Use the words “condemnation” and “conviction” as synonyms; then avoid both.
  50. Just focus on befriending and influencing people your own age.
  51. Use a lot of cliches – that way you’ll keep the unchurched away.
  52. Don’t bother keeping missionaries accountable to bear fruit.
  53. Refuse to let young people become leaders.
  54. Avoid all theological words – those were inserted into the Bible by mistake.
  55. Avoid biblical titles like elder and deacon.
  56. Always round up when asked about your average attendance.
  57. Use a lot of corporate words like: A.G.M., Board, and Trustees.
  58. Never remove anyone from ministry even if they’re incompetent.
  59. Use the word “non-denominational” a lot – it means nothing but sounds appealing.
  60. Put your pastor’s name on the church sign – it’ll draw in lots of people.
  61. Invest a lot of time in people who don’t want to change.
  62. Whatever you do, never update your logo or name.
  63. Hold people accountable in every area of life except financial generosity.
  64. Let people appoint themselves as missionaries without any church input.
  65. Only use curriculum – that way people will never have to study the Bible for themselves.
  66. Expect the pastor to do everything.
  67. Encourage people to drop their outdated junk off at the church.
  68. Stay loyal to your denomination, even if they apostacize.
  69. Awkwardly ask newcomers to stand to receive a free pen.
  70. Never address gender issues.
  71. Decorate your church to resemble a funeral home.
  72. Fund your ministry through garage sales, bake sales and raffles.
  73. Vote on everything.
  74. Quote Matthew 7:1: “judge not” out of context a lot.
  75. Publish your Order of Service in the bulletin – it keeps people engaged.
  76. Put brass nameplates on all donated gifts you want to keep forever.
  77. Post low-quality sermon and worship videos on your website.
  78. Tell the worst of sinners they are loved and leave it at that.
  79. Create a Mission Statement, then forget about it.
  80. Get all your staff from other churches.
  81. Don’t equip, do everything.
  82. When you do equip, micromanage people.
  83. Leaders: spend 80% of your time preaching elsewhere and attending conferences.
  84. Erect “pastors only” parking signs near the doors – it keeps them fat and therefore jolly.
  85. Pretend that your second campus is actually a church plant.
  86. Post cheesy jokes on your church sign.
  87. Be cheap, remember, keep it cheap.
  88. Organize lots of meetings and generate plenty of reports.
  89. Assume any church bigger than yours has compromised.
  90. Assume any church smaller than yours is out-of-touch.
  91. Get a preacher who has a real voice and a fake preacher’s voice.
  92. Only talk to the people you know – avoid newcomers and especially if you’re an introvert.
  93. Aim for encouragement and avoid conviction at all costs.
  94. Never close a ministry down even if it’s not bearing fruit.
  95. Encourage “friendship evangelism” only – no words are necessary.
  96. Farm out most of your ministry to mission agencies and parachurch groups.
  97. Never address sexual sin or teach on sexual pleasure.
  98. Encourage people to let their heart lead them.
  99. Never ask people for their time, talents and treasures in the same sermon.
  100. Never, ever preach on eternal damnation.