Jump directly to the Content

Embracing Death (of a Different Kind) in Holy Week

Is the church too afraid of death?

I am closing a congregation. Helping close, that is, a congregation whose members voted to end the ministry as they have known it.

It's hard. I am watching people grieve, second guess themselves and wonder where they will go after their beloved building sells. I've never closed a congregation, nor have I ever participated in a congregation that closed, nor known one interested in closing. Most dying church institutions I've known have done everything possible not to close, so walking this path feels a little strange, if not lonely.

The predicament strikes me as ironic, especially during Holy Week. This week marks the culmination of a Lenten season in which we walk with Jesus through his passion to the cross, where Jesus will not try to keep doing things the way he's always done them until he can no longer survive, but where Jesus will die, be buried and – as we recite in the Creed – descend to the dead. It is the salvation story into which we enter each year anew; the path we urge people ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
How a Mother’s Love Built a School that Can Transform Hearts and Brains
How a Mother’s Love Built a School that Can Transform Hearts and Brains
Jacob’s Ladder challenges special education norms thanks to Amy O’Dell's relentless belief in her son.
Editor's Pick
What Sanctification Looks Like
What Sanctification Looks Like
The Bible’s diverse narratives help us disciple those entrusted to our care.