Recent statistics show that approximately 3500 churches close down every year in the United States, for many different reasons. Churches grow old and towns die off. Poor leadership, splits, and other problems have caused many churches to decline to the point of bare survival. Too often, these churches close their doors and then sell them – to bars, coffee shops, mosques, bargain stores, or to be bulldozed for commercial use.
Perhaps you are in this situation yourself and do not know what to do. Last year, we had the privilege of meeting with a deacon in a rural church south of our city. His son attends our church, and through him we learned of the church’s situation. It had dwindled down to 2-3 people, and had a bad name in the community. They did not know what to do, but they were considering selling their property to a lumber yard. At a meeting to discuss their future, another pastor and I emphasized that the property was good property, and had been bought with God’s money for God’s work, and ought to be used for God’s purpose. Long story short, that church called a friend of mine to be their pastor – they reorganized, got a new name and some good leadership, and they are now doing well. A new church was born in the old location.
A friend of mine down in Florida has been meeting in a community center while starting a new church in an expensive city. Just this week, a struggling church gave them their property, 100% free. Now, the Word of God will continue to be preached from the pulpit, souls will be saved, and a new church will prosper and grow.
I recently read of a new church in California that was given a beautiful property from a church in its last days. This property would have sold for a lot of money, but the remaining members of that church obviously had deeper spiritual priorities.
Before closing the doors, why not consider giving them away? Is there a new church in the area that could use the property for the glory of God? What if you have a mortgage? Can the new church take over payments, or buy it outright? That is what we did here in Wylie, purchasing this property from a Church of God that was relocating to the country. The pastor then told me, “We just feel that God’s money was used to build this place and it ought to continue on being used for God.”
Why not pray about it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the empty pews filled with new people – to know a man of God is preaching the gospel in the pulpit, and that the Bible is being taught in the Sunday School classrooms again?
Thanks for reading. God bless.