Closing Churches

Today I was part of a conversation where we discussed closing a church.

It was an emotional experience for me.

Not because the decision itself carried emotion, but rather because I am so committed to the Church and the launching of new local churches that it grieves me to see one close.

This church had a long and lively history in the community, but at the end it was but two families meeting together for Sunday worship.

Mike Livingston has identified the various life-stages of churches. The final stage before a church dies is called “Old Age.”

Characteristics of Old Age Churches
1. The congregation is now at subsistence level.
2. It becomes a preaching station or chaplaincy ministry.
3. The worship life is full of precious memories, homecomings, and anniversaries.
4. The congregation is afraid to take any risks that might diminish the precious few resources it has left.
5. The most significant numbers counted are the number of funerals, the number of people who are homebound or in the nursing section of senior adult housing.
6. As long as resources are available, old age congregations have the ability to survive long past any viable pro-active ministry life.
7. Death is not inevitable, in that a radical turnaround process can still happen.
8. The result of not performing a radical rebirth is death.

Mike points out that old age churches are not determined by size or chronological age. There can be old young churches.

I’d encourage you to evaluate your church and see if any of these characteristics are present. The extent to which they are observed should indicate the need for a radical rebirth. Don’t delay – get some help. (You can contact us at [email protected] for a free consultation conversation.)

The decision was made today to close a church. Yet, a new hispanic ministry will be launching soon in the same neighborhood. This gives me hope!

I wonder how many churches could choose to leave a legacy by intentionally contributing their resources to launch a new church rather than using up all their resources to simply avoid the inevitable.

Today’s Missional Challenge

Evaluate the health and effectiveness of your church’s ministries. Take action to engage with Jesus’ mission now!

Author

Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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