Is decline inevitable? Can decline be identified and avoided? That is the premise that lies at the heart of Jim Collins short book, How the mighty fall: And why some companies never give in.
In studying healhy businesses, the author asks a rather penetrating question, “Can a company be in decline even though they may look healthy on the outside?” His answer is “Yes,” and he uses the concept of disease to illustrate his point. The author states,
“I’ve come to see institutional decline like a staged disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages, easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages. An institution can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside, dangerously on the cusp of a precipitous fall.”
I’m only a couple of chapters into the book, but it got me thinking about whether or not the same concepts can be applied to the church. Can a church be in decline even though it may appear to be healthy to all on the outside? Collins uses a chart to illustrate five stages of decline.
It will be interesting to see what other insights can be gleaned from the book to apply to leading a church to greater health and effectiveness.