OPTIONS FOR STRUGGLING CHURCHES
Churches that are struggling and dwindling in size are often unsure what to do to change course. Listed here are the five general options that these churches face moving forward.
The first option for any church is to continue doing what it is currently doing and hope for the best. Many churches find that the pain of making changes is too great and choose to do nothing rather than have to face change.
This involves a more hands-on role from the association. The association would help for an advisaory panel of pastors from sisters churches to help the church leadership team make needed changes. In the absence of a pastor, the advisory team would also serve as a part of the pastoral search team. The revitalization team churches will also help by doing outreach local mission projects and providing resources as needed for the struggling church.
The church starts over with a new identity. The remaining members help form the core group of the replant. An associational team would select the new pastor for the replant and help with resources and outreach missions to the local community. The church has to vote to close and start over, becoming a new congregation.
The fusion of two congregations into one, where one church is stronger or more stable than the other, allowing the stronger entity to take the lead. One type of merger involves two churches joining together as one. The other involves a larger church taking over a smaller church as a second location or campus.
Involves the decision to shut down operations of the ministry and dispose of the property. The assets are typically handed over to a denominational entity or another church, with the goal being for that entity to use the location or resources for future church planting.