A congregation struck by apathy is dying, having become unconcerned of the drift from its devotion to God-prescribed responsibilities (Hebrews 2:1). Boredom or forgetfulness in evangelism is usually the first symptom of sickness. A church that dies will never be resurrected (Ephesians 5:14-17).
What Jesus said about becoming cold and loveless for lost souls is forgotten. The autopsy of a dead church reveals four different cancers in the body that killed the church:
- Slow erosion of zeal. This is commonly called neglect. This prevented the daily exercise of a healthy church exhorting one another to love and good works (cp. Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-26). If only they could have acknowledged the similarities of themselves and the church at Sardis, and why it died (Revelation 3:1).
- Budget moved inward. To keep the feeling of a healthy church, they keep the money instead of supplying the funds for the great commission of Christ (cp. Matthew 28:19) to evangelize and keep a healthy spiritual atmosphere. The local bank is the altar of the funds to and gives hope to keep the church alive.
- Sluggishness set in. The church’s inactivity caused members to not pray together and work together in the community (cp. Romans 12:10-17). This led to severe edema, which caused lack of attendance to Sunday Bible classes and progressed into no Sunday night or mid-week Bible study.
- The church lost clear purpose. As a last resort they put full confidence and trust into the church property, and became obsessed with preservation of the facilities (cp. Ephesians 4:12-16).
Apathy is always terminal unless the members are awakened in time to restore evangelism and return to spiritual health prescribed by the Great Physician (Revelation 3:1-3). Opening the door to Jesus’ calling will restore the saints.