Church Closings

Finishing Well: Closing a Church with Integrity and Hope

By Marshall Fant III

As ministers of the Gospel, it’s natural that we would want to preserve and revitalize the institutions that have accomplished God’s work in the past. But what do we do when we realize that a church has lost its effectiveness, and efforts to revitalize have failed? Should a church like that be kept alive at all cost?

Sadly, some churches have accomplished their purpose and need to close. This decision presents countless uncertainties that likely will elicit fear in even the most audacious church leaders. But closing, though often difficult and emotional, does not need to be interpreted as failure.  In fact, a church that dies with dignity can have a major impact on other churches and even continue its ministry into the future.

The process of closing a church presents numerous difficult questions. How does a church die well? How is it possible to end well after so many years of fruitful ministry? How do the leaders of a church maintain a good name to its members and community? Yet, despite the questions, a church closing must be guided by one unwavering rule: the rule of integrity.  

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Six Types of Churches That Have Died During the Pandemic

"These six types of churches are described categorically, but the categories are not mutually exclusive. Many of these deceased churches fit most, if not all, of the categories. We have spoken with the leadership of these churches. The conversations were sad but enlightening." - Thom Rainer

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