When is the right time to close a church? When is the right time to merge churches?
Why would we want to close or merge churches? Churches close because they are no longer making disciples of Jesus Christ. Churches merge when they catch the passion to make disciples of Jesus Christ and the separate churches realize that they can make disciples of Jesus Christ when they are together.
Would it be good to have an incentive from a United Methodist District to merge churches? It would not hurt! If the land, rent, or other utilities would be subsidized by a District/Conference, then the churches who are looking at merging might find it appealing to merge.
Okay, so I am rambling on about closing and merging churches. But that might be how we do church. We may must ramble on. That is to say a church or churches keep on going, without making disciples. Instead of facing the need for closure or merging, churches may just ramble on to nothing.
I remember the first charge I was asked by the District Superintendent to merge. They didn’t while I was their pastor. But they did merge, or something like that. One building was bought by another denomination and I think is still being used. The now larger church is still in existence. I pray that they are making disciples for Jesus Christ.
I also pray that the churches that I am leading now are making disciples. We have confirmation classes every year. So, at least the youth are becoming disciples, after a fashion. As adults join the church they also go through a membership class, again, after a fashion becoming disciples.
For these churches to be living churches, do we need to concentrate on making disciples? From my earlier ramblings, it would seem that making disciples is a priority. I hope the Holy Spirit fills us with the faith to make disciples!
It is good to be part of a living church that is making disciples for Jesus Christ. Can we be a living church? God help us to be a living church!