“He shoots! He scores!” You hear the basketball announcers proclaim.
“What a fade-away jumper!” and the crowd goes wild!
A fade-away shot in a basketball game can win the day. A fade away in church planting can ruin the day. One of the greatest challenges a new church will face is staying on target. Fading away from your original vision can occur rapidly if you’re not careful. Sometimes it happens and you weren’t even aware of it.
In 1979 Neil Young came out with a song on his Rust Never Sleeps album, called “My, My, Hey, Hey”. Now, that song may not ring a bell with you, but out of that song comes a lyrical phrase that most have probably heard, “Better to burn out than to fade away.” (made more well known by Def Leppard’s Pyromania album) That phrase became even more popular after it was found on April 8, 1994, in the suicide note of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. In both cases, that lyrical phrase had to do with the death of a rock icon. The first was Elvis Presley, the second was Kurt himself.
No one desires to simply fade away into oblivion when they die.
In fact, most spend a lifetime trying to build some kind of legacy that will last beyond their time on this earth. Local churches are really no different. Like individuals, most churches desire to leave a lasting legacy as well. Sadly, many churches have experienced vision drift and their original passion has faded away.
If you do a Google search on the average size of the American church, you are likely to be frustrated by the facts. No one really knows for sure, but it is estimated that attendance, in 75 percent of American churches, ranges somewhere between 75 -100 or less on any given Sunday. To make matters worse, the median age of those attending church is on the rise while the median age of the unchurched continues to decline. Many churches are quietly fading away with little to no trace that they ever existed.
Why are churches in American experiencing decline and loss of momentum? I think it can be summed up in two little words, “Fade Away”. The original vision, passion, and drive behind their birth faded away and has been supplanted with something new. What does that have to do with church planting? Unfortunately, far too much. Fadeaway can be and is not only experienced by the established church, but also by many church plants.
So, how do you guard against potential fade away?
How can you make sure that you are staying on point and that you are not becoming a victim of vision drift?
1. Trust in the vision God has given you.
2. Write your vision down
3. Share your vision constantly and in different ways.
4. Review the vision. – A clear vision is measurable.
5. Be aware of Vision vandals
- Vampires – These individuals are well-intentioned people who love Jesus but are misinformed. They simply suck the life right out of you.
- Vultures – These individuals seem to find something wrong in everything you do.
- Firemen – These vandals are subtle in their approach.