it might surprise you to hear me say this but sometimes the best thing a pastor can do is close their church down.
I believe that it is hard to kill a church. I’ve known many that were on the brink of death but then came back to life. However, the smaller the church is the more fragile it is and the easier it is to reach a place where it lacks viability.
In order to determine viability a church needs to answer these for questions:
1. Do you have enough money?
If there is not enough money coming in to cover the basic operating expenses of the church (including a livable salary for the pastor, unless he/she is bivocational) then the church is in trouble.
2. Do you have enough people?
Are there enough active members to cover the most basic ministries and programs one would expect to find in a church?
3. Do your people have enough morale and motivation?
You might have enough warm bodies but if those people are worn out, beaten down, lack high morale and motivation to be about the hard work of turning a church around, the church is in trouble.
4. Does the pastor have enough energy and motivation to keep going if nothing changes?
A common question I ask pastors is, “How long can you hang in there if nothing changes?” How they answer this question tells me a lot about their energy and motivation levels.
Some pastors just need to take a break, move on, quit…at least quit their current assignment and wait for a new one. This is hard for most pastors to admit but it’s essential that they do admit it if they really need to.
There is no shame in admitting that your church is no longer viable. There is no shame in admitting that you need to take a break, or move on to a new assignment…or quit.
If you are struggling with questions about viability you could use the help of an outside, objective coach. Contact me, I’d love to help.