As a part of my responsibility as an assistant to the district superintendent, I attended the final service of a church in our district today. As I oversaw their final time meeting as a congregation, I was struck by a few thoughts.
It's a sad day when a church has to close. This church didn't have the resources to carry on. The pastor realized this and led the church into the decision to shut its doors. Efforts to reach into the community had failed for many years (20+). The church no longer had a positive image in the neighborhood.
It's a hard day for the pastor. Having had to close a church under my watch, I know how emotionally and spiritually debilitating it is to say "It's over." You battle questions as to whether or not you did everything you could to save the church. You battle depression as the enemy loves to make you think you are a failure. You battle a sense of abandonment as your peers keep their distance for a variety of reasons, none of which is justifiable.
It's a discouraging day for a community, though it probably doesn't realize the impact of a closed church. A source of light is gone. Even if the church has been in decline for years, there was always that chance that someone could be helped by that ministry.
Though those thoughts are negative, there is one positive. The Kingdom goes on! The gospel will still be shared by those true believers who move on and join other churches. Jesus said, "I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." (Matthew 16:18, NLT). When I think of some of the people from my own church closer several years ago, I thank God that they are still serving Him all over the U.S. - Dave & Julie in Georgia, Patrick & Kathy in Arizona, Scott & Amy in Indiana, etc. God is still on the throne and will use those who are fully committed to Him!
Yes, it's a sad day when a church closes its doors, but believers will always have an impact, for WE are His Church!