The ideas that follow are certainly not new, nor original with me – but are something I wish more churches would consider.
When I was in Bossier City, LA, a local baptist church not far from our church put a For Sale Sign on their property. They had a decent building with prime frontage on a key road, but had decreased in size to the point that they felt they could no longer exist as a church.
From what I’m hearing – this trend is becoming more prevalent and more and more churches are declining rapidly. I wish the leaders of denominations, conventions and/or associations would start considering the paradigm shift of churches that are dying to donate their facilities (which are usually paid for) to a church that is actively growing in this culture and allow them to plant a satelitte or similar church in their facility. Yes, that would mean giving up all rights to the facilities and releasing all those “in memory of” placards – but if the church is about to put a “for sale” sign on the door, what difference does that make.
At one point, these churches had an impact in the lives of people, but for some reason they are no longer effective at taking the Gospel of Jesus to the culture. Most of the Baptist churches I know about started with the idea of being committed to the Great Commission, so I know they want to reach people for Christ. Problem is – many of them aren’t accomplishing the c0-mission Christ gave us.
There are many young Pastors/Leaders chomping at the bit to start a new work that will be effective in reaching people for Christ in their culture, but starting a church is difficult because of all the factors and hardships that are involved in a church plant. It could be amazing if some churches would donate their facilities to be used for a new work; giving the young pastor and the sponsoring church a location where they didn’t have to find a place to rent or deal with “church in a box” week after week.
I think it could be amazing what we could do together to build the Kingdom (not our kingdom) if we’d release the past and move forward with new ideas about how we do church. Granted, this isn’t a new idea – several key leaders have proposed it and it’s been done in a few places. I just wish more churches would consider it as an option. It’s certainly better than dying or hanging a For Sale Sign on the door.