What About the Dying Church?

(Book Review of “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” part 6. Part 1 and Part 2  and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5)

This is my final review/critique of “Autopsy of a Deceased Church”.

I want to start with a qualifier: I appreciate the value this book has to offer the church at large. In this part (6) I will review/critique the final chapter and offer final overall thoughts. I have no intent to discredit or speak disparagingly of any one individual or entity only to request that greater care be given from the publishing world in what is published for pastors and churches.

Review of Chapter 14: My Church is Dying: Four Responses:

I still have a nearness of my dad dying last month. This nearness of self-pity and sorrow may still be too close for me to speak with profoundness.

I understand that no one wants to talk about death. It’s kind of awkward. One even kind of wonders if it’s okay to talk about it. But, I’m in agreement with Rainer on this matter, local churches do die and it is a good thing to take a close look (an autopsy) of that dead corpse to determine what led to the demise and was there anything that could have been done to save it.

Who would want to admit that their church is one of those churches that is dying? I wouldn’t.

Here Rainer offers four responses: Death with Dignity.

  1. Sell the property and give the funds to another church, perhaps a new church that has begun or will soon begin.
  2. Give the building to another church.
  3. If the church (building) is in a transitional neighborhood, turn over the leadership and property to those who actually reside in the neighborhood.
  4. Merge with another church, but let the other church have the ownership and leadership of your church.

I think I understand what Rainer is saying. Just as in the death of a person, a will is consulted for instruction for what to do with any assets. I think there are some healthy things Rainer is making here. While there is life still in the church, let your dying moments count for the Kingdom of Heaven and let the earthly assets of the church bless another church or ministry driven by the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s it. That’s all I have to say about the book proper, I have more to say about some of the content or issues, but for the book, that is all. I do recommend it, with a caution to the reader; Always be a critical thinking reader.

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