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Killers of the Church - Complacency

Updated on December 15, 2011
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Rebecca Graf is an experienced writer with nearly a decade of writing experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

This is the second in a series of articles on the things that are killing the church.  The tongue is one of the major death threats.  When the tongue is set loose it can destroy nations.  But it is not alone.  Complacency aids in the death of the church.


The death nail for any church is the words “We’ve never done it this way before.” So many times we get used to the way things are done and we are comfortable. That is the most dangerous place to be. Nowhere did God say that we were to be comfortable.

When complacency takes over, we begin to take for granted the things around us and forget the meaning behind the actions. When we are satisfied with the same lesson year after year, we do not advance in our learning. We stagnate.

What happens when water stagnates? It gets slimy. It becomes polluted. It becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. What happens when the church stagnates? It gets polluted. It gets pulled away from the original message. It becomes a breeding ground for false teachers and incorrect believes. A flowing stream is always sought after. It is fresh. It is cutting out a path. It is bringing fresh water for all who seek after it. It brings life. A church that continues to flow in its growth is fresh. It brings cool water to those who seek it instead of stagnated polluted water.

“We’ve never done it this way before.” If these words were the mantra for everyone, we would have no cars, no electricity, no internet, no advancements whatsoever. We would have stayed in the dark ages. Complacency has been the death of many civilizations. Only those that strove to improve and become better continued on. When the Roman Empire became satisfied, it began to crumble. When the Persian Empire was comfortable, it was destroyed. Complacency is a breeding ground of death.

What is the church complacent in? There are many areas that the church becomes complacent and begins the process of death. Worship services are the most obvious place people can spot complacency. Are the songs still the songs of your great-grandparents? There is nothing wrong with most of those beautiful old hymns, but what is the reason for singing them? Just because it always has been? Then complacency is ruling the church. Is the service in the exact same format as it was fifty years ago? Then complacency is the god. Are the programs still the same? Will you accept new programs and ministries? Why not? Because they are new? Then complacency wins.

Complacency is not saying that only the old ways are best. Complacency is refusing to advance and go forward. If the apostles were complacent, the gospel would not have spread. Half the New Testament would not have been written. Complacency never advanced the Word. It only buries it. But complacency is deadliest in the church when it is the spiritual lives of those that attend the church. When complacency becomes the norm for a person’s life, they begin to die. Do you want to learn more? Are you willing to try something new? Are you willing to go out on a limb because you are called to do so? If you cannot answer yes to these, then complacency has control of your life. When complacency controls the individual’s life, there can be no growth in the church. There is no thought of being Abraham and just going because God called us. Abraham did not let complacency rule him when he set out for unknown lands because God said, “Go.” Ruth did not let complacency take over her life. She was willing to take a chance and in the end became King David’s grandmother.

When the church becomes satisfied with the status quo, then it is time to stir the pot and begin advancing.  Jesus was not satisfied with the status quo.  He wanted the hearts of men changed.  He wanted revival in each person’s life.  Sitting in the same pew week after week saying the same prayers becomes a routine instead of a lifestyle.  The opposite of complacency is acting.  When the church is not satisfied with the current attendance numbers and they want to reach out to those around them that are hurting, complacency gets the boot.  When the church is not willing to sit and watch others destroy their lives but want to show them hope and love, complacency is no more.  When the church is willing to admit that it needs to grow and mature, complacency can find no room there.


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    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      This is a great and true article. Thank you for writing it. Too many churches have gotten stuck in what was, rather than what is relevant today. Jesus' love is the same and He loves all, we need to get off our seats and communicate that message,

    • profile image

      PamD 5 years ago

      BOY!!! If this isn't the truth!!!!

    • profile image

      Matha 7 years ago

      I have read this article about complacency and that is exactly my problem. It has made me stagnate in life as a person. I have worked many years and all I have done is to use my resources to make others to climb up but have never sat down and analysed why I never think of myself. Now the same people I helped always make fun of me and say that I am an embarrassment to them (relatives). I love singing and have procrastinated about going for piano lessons. I have lost properties and been taken advantage of because of complacency. I thank God that he is revealing more to me. I serve in the Church and have so many gifts I could offer but I shy away whilst I could be doing exploits for God. I operate faster under pressure since that time I have to deliver. Your article is very educative. I am trying my best but you see I had really gone too deep in it but I am willing to change now since it has really done a lot of damage to my life. Sometimes I feel like there is a very big valley in between since I make decisions and love advancing but something strong holds me back.

      Thank you so much for that article.


    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I wonder very much if the church (do you mean the Church of Rome?)IS very complacent in today's environment. Traditional churches are losing members at a very rapid rate. If they're complacent, they need a wake-up call.

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      His daughter 7 years ago

      This is DEFINITELY a big one within the church. My prayer is that the church will wake up and shake this enemy off before it's too late. If the church would be the church as God intended, it could change this country. Another good hub!