Five Pathways for Dying Churches

Episode #002
October 5, 2017
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When a church is dying, what are its options? Today we cover five of the most common pathways for dying churches.

Today’s Listener Question:


Our church is on its last legs. We have a little money left in our accounts, but not enough for a full-time pastor salary. There are only a few elderly families left in the church, and we don’t do much more than meet each Sunday morning for Bible study and worship. Do we just need to close or is there another option. Some just want to sell the building and give the money to a local ministry. I’d hate drive by in a year and see a strip mall where our church used to be.

Episode Highlights:

  • For a neighborhood, the church building indicates a sacred space.
  • Every neighborhood should benefit from a local church.
  • “A vacant church looks like a long-abandoned castle of a long-forgotten king.” – Graham Singh
  • Church mergers are really starting to work well when the younger church cares well for the older church.
  • An abundance of activity anesthetizes the pain of death in dying churches.

The five pathways for dying churches that we cover in this episode are:

  1. Give the building to a healthier church
  2. Give the building to a church planter
  3. Share the building with another church
  4. Merge
  5. Replant from within

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

Revitalize & Replant is sponsored by the North American Mission Board and More than 10% of churches in North America are at risk of closing and the North American Mission Board is committed to reversing this trend by decreasing the death rate of existing churches while simultaneously increasing the birth rate of new churches. To learn more about what it means to become a replanting pastor or to explore resources for replanting and revitalization in your own church, visit

Submit Your Question:

Do you have a question about church revitalization or replanting for us to use on the podcast? Visit the podcast page to submit your question. If we use it on the show, you’ll get a copy of Autopsy of a Deceased Church and Reclaiming Glory.