Local churches have a life-cycle.
Some barely make it out of the starting blocks. Some last a generation or two. Some are still active after hundreds of years. But, even with constant renewal, the evidence from 2,000 years of Christianity shows that every congregation will, at some point, cease to exist.
If you are currently attending or leading a church that is in its final years or days, this short article is for you.
Your Work and Ministry Matter
What you are doing is important.
Most of the resources, celebration and recognition goes to churches that are renewing, reviving and growing. And that is worth acknowledging and celebrating.
But it is important to acknowledge that there are seasons in the life of many congregants and church leaders in which you’re not called to help a church grow, thrive, or turn around, but to help it die with dignity.
This too, is God’s work in and through you.
We Are With You, Heart And Soul
Like those who work in hospice care for the sick and dying, there are those in the church who are called to help local congregations end their time of ministry with the dignity they deserve.
You are not alone. God sees what you do and, even if we’ve never met, we are with you as fellow members of the eternally-living body of Christ.
- If your church is in its final years or days, we mourn with you.
- If you are called to lead a church through its final days, we pray for you.
- If you are comforting a congregation as they feel this deep loss, we cry with you.
- If you are facing the possibility of closing a church, but aren’t sure what to do, we ask for God’s wisdom for you.
- If your church is going through a time of tearing down an existing congregation to start again as a new church, we acknowledge your loss, even as we celebrate the new birth to come.
- If the decision to close or not to close the church is out of your hands, we grieve with you.
Whatever your past, present or future as a congregation may be, we are grateful for the kingdom work you have done.
We mourn for the loss you feel, and we celebrate the eternal results of a job well done.
Copyright © 2018 by the author or Christianity Today.
Click here to read our guidelines concerning reprint permissions.