It is interesting to compare many of the thoughts being expressed in this thread with the events that transpired within the church in the book of Acts.
A few of those statements in this thread have been-
-I guess its cuz of a lack of strong leadership or willful neglect of certain issues by the leadership. God Help us all
-Simply church leaders do not feed their people the word of God. Also these leaders do not encourage their people to read and immerse themselves in the word. A thriving church is a church where people are hearing and reading the word.
-So let us get back to the Bible in our churches and you will see a thriving church. So simple it scares you.
By many of the statements made thus far you would think that the Apostles never preached the word, were not immersed in it, were only ticking ears and just in it for the show.
I think we are all in agreement that those things were not true for the Apostles. However, it is also just as true that they were not a bunch of "thriving" churches either. ...at least not as has been defined as "thriving" on the thread.
Please consider a few thoughts if you would be so kind-
1. THE CHURCH IN CORINTH - founded by the Apostle Paul was, "fleshly, full of contentions, factions (dare I say almost "denominationalism" ?), shallow, unable to eat strong spiritual food (so...perhaps it isn't always that the minister isn't bringing a meat filled message... Paul says that just maybe it's the folks listening who can't receive it thus he must still use milk), it had envy, strife, division, unappreciative of the sacrifices that the Apostles had made, accused Paul's teaching of being "shallow" and not as "good" as some others (hmm... similar to a few posts on this thread), unforgiving and quick to sue each other, violating the consciences of weaker brothers, not serving each other, getting drunk and being gluttons in the church, often divisive, and allowed sexual immorality (step parent incest) to go unchecked in the fellowship".
These are all listed by Paul in 1 and 2 Corinthians. According to many of the posts in this thread so far it would have been Paul's fault that these circumstances existed.
2. THE CHURCH AT GALATIA - Founded by the Apostle Paul. It was in danger of returning to a position of trusting in the keeping of the law as the means of salvation. So much so that Paul was concerned that he had wasted his time in founding it. Concerning some Paul said that by returning to trusting the law instead of grace that ,"you have fallen away from grace". Gal 5:4b , One Apostle had to stand and publicly rebuke another Apostle (Peter) in front of the church, the return to trust in circumcision as a means to salvation was so strong Paul said of those false teachers that, " I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!" Gal 5:12. It appears certain that Paul was concerned that the very existence of the Galatians Church was far from a certainty.
REVELATIONS - We can find similar issues with most of the churches of the New Testament. Reread the letters to the angels of the churches in Revelations. You will see that the same type, and worse, circumstances were evident in almost all the New Testament Churches.
It also appears that Paul may have well walked of this planet and into the heavenly world wondering if the churches he founded would survive. He said he had run his race and finished his course. He was confident and assured he had done God's will for his life... but also seems to wonder if the individual works he poured himself into would survive the enemies onslaught. He warned several of them about its coming after he departed.
So in summary... by many of the posts on this thread the Apostle Paul would be the object of blame and criticism for the many of the churches he started "not thriving".
However, there is another thing that one might glean from the study of the churches Paul founded. It is this- the churches were made up of people. Yes, people that sinned, made mistakes, were sometimes flesh and emotionally driven, prideful, sometimes bigots, sometimes arrogant, and often guilty of putting themselves first at the expense of others. No different now than it was then.
If you want to see the primary reason your church is not thriving take a good long look into the mirror. First fix everything wrong with that person before you start blasting the minister for not meeting your expectations of what you think is a proper job of teaching.
If you, and we all, will work on keeping our critical tongues in check and making the person in the mirror look like Jesus THEN you (we) will see thriving churches. Quit passing the blame... stand up and take responsibility....stand up and say that the real reason your church may not be thriving is because you (we) are not being Jesus to the world. Focus on fixing yourself (ourselves) a lot more and focus on criticizing leadership a lot less.... THAT will create thriving churches.
Who would disagree that people that exemplify Jesus in their words, thoughts, actions and deeds to those who do not know Christ would thrive?!?!?!