This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Bill Easum writes in Unfreezing Moves:
Growth, health, and the life cycles of institutions are not the basic issues facing Christian congregations at the beginning of this millennium. The basic issue facing your congregation is: Are you faithful? Congregations can be healthy and growing but not faithful. Some congregations grow simply because of their location and often in spite of their best efforts to support the status quo. Many congregations, which function as a family chapel, are healthy family systems with absolutely no desire to join Jesus on the mission field. These congregations are not faithful. I realize that some writers use the terms health and vitality somewhat in the same way that I use the term faithfulness. However, too much of the writing and conversation today focuses on institutional health, which is not what I mean by the word faithfulness. Faithful congregations follow Jesus into the mission field to make disciples who make a difference in their world.
This was the kick in the pants I received a year ago that began the process of thinking beyond church health or institutional survival. It's still one of the best quotes about why we need to think beyond our own church's institutional survival. That's not the point. Following Jesus into the mission field, even at the expense of our institutional survival, is the point.