Here is a great story from the Presbyterian Church, USA, about a Minneapolis church in decline that made a faithful plan to continue ministry in their neighborhood after their church closed. The link is:
Some signs of wisdom that I see in both the churches in this story are:
* The former congregation began the tradition of listening to the neighborhood, and the new church carried that on.
* The church defined their effort as “revitalization”, even though they probably knew their own church would close before a new ministry was created.
* The denomination had a vehicle for support through grant funding that focused not on maintaining the old model, but expected the creation of a new church model that emphasized community outreach
* The former church was excited about witnessing the outcome of their effort
* The work was done patiently over several years
* The former church never really gave up its efforts to reach out to its community through the sharing of resources with other churches and community groups
* The new church exists in partnership with ten congregations and doesn’t expect to “go it alone”.
There is a lot of Good News in this story. When you think about churches at risk that you know of, which of these positive signs could they build on to plan for a legacy to future ministries?