I love a small church – the building, the people, the setting, the history. The photo is of a small church near me. I’ve been there, done a funeral there, know or used to know some of the people and pastors there.
But, never mind thinking about the future of this church, what, exactly, is going on in the present?
This is the church sign (I blocked out the name). The message “come join us” is not exactly a game changer but letting it run down and have letters scattered all over signals that this isn’t a church that cares a thing about what people think or say about them.
Somebody oughta do something.
How about the association? Not likely, my experience tells me. The DOM may volunteer to fill in or be an interim pastor. He gets an extra paycheck each week. The church gets decent preaching. That’s probably about it.
How about the state convention? It has been sort of a generic state convention mantra for several years that, “We exist to help churches fulfill their vision for their church.” For this church? Maybe a padlock for the front door? Maybe they could be helped to see ten years down the road. There are several thriving SBC churches within a few miles of this one. Not likely the state convention, in their own budgetary throes, will infuse this church with anything but sympathy.
How about NAMB? NAMB has money but prefers to invest in churches and planters that have a chance of success.
How about all these retired guys around here, like me? The church just had a retired guy, layman, who was enthusiastic about the opportunity for him to preach. He did fine. Then he moved and died. Hey, I’m a retired guy. How about me? In a way I’d love to but I’ve preached in enough churches like this to know that I’d probably sink my own ship by bringing up, ahem, closing the doors or giving the building to a church that has a vision for the community. Fast track the firing of the guy who brings that up.
Oh, the church has a cemetery attached. One can bet that the cemetery has money and as long as the church can hang on – pay a guy a hundred bucks a week or so, pay the utilities, and keep the roof from falling in – they will do just that, hang on.
On the other hand, the church may provide experience to young preachers, contribute to our common work, and provide a place for worship and fellowship for members and attenders, even if they are only a dozen or so. God bless the few behind the funky church sign.
Some of the brethren always suggest that it will benefit the SBC to engage on a church closing campaign. Nah. It’s no one else’s choice. The congregation can decide.
But, please, at least fix the doggone sign.
There are thousand of churches in the SBC like this one. Some have valuable real estate, bank accounts and other assets. They are desirable to churches on the prowl for assets, all in the name of a relaunch. Caveat emptor little church.