The Renewal Legacy Project
In his book IN DYING WE ARE REBORN Peter Bush writes, “Each generation of leaders has to learn the truth that the church must die so that God can make it alive.” The idea of death as God’s gateway to life is deeply biblical. Jesus said in John 12:24 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
God’s universal design is for death to bring life. The soil that nurtures magnificent forests is the compost of previous forests that lived, died and lived again. The church, too, is part of God’s universal design. Congregations, too, live, die and then bring new life. Those who study the church refer to this as the “lifecycle of congregations.”
This lifecycle is apparent throughout North American with 1-2% of all churches closing every year. The number of closings will increase as congregations and denominations age and society becomes post-churched. But there is good news. Imaginative Gospel-centered faith communities are birthed every week that connect with people who live in a rapidly changing world.
All this is to say that congregations should be willing to embrace death, not fear it. When God calls a faith community to complete their journey it is an opportunity to be part of God’s greater resurrection work. When churches finish well they leave rich soil that nurtures the life of new congregations begun.
Our coaches help churches finish well by walking them through all the important steps of completion including: a final assessment to determine if closing is the best option, pastoral care of members, celebrating a congregation’s life story, transitioning pastoral staff, dealing with legal obligations, finding a new church home for congregants and developing a legacy plan to maximize the blessing of remaining assets. Our hope is to serve congregations by caring for them in the closing days of their life together.
Not sure if The Renewal Legacy Project is what your church needs? Take the church assessment and find out!