Churches: When should they close? When should they open?

Why do churches disconnect from their neighborhoods in the first place? This displacement is complex and can even be demonic. It can also be historical and political, racial and financial, personal, generational, and spatial. In our post-Christian culture we rarely invest our best assets in places with the least resources.

If we did, we would understand a theology of location as much as our other theological amusements. If we really got it, w would be putting skilled and fully funded teams of transformational leaders in strategically critical urban areas to build collaborative ministries.

It takes time and faith to earn the love and respect of a stranger. What’s more, it takes courage.

We have incredible social capital to reinvest in our urban places. Sure, there are identical problems facing people in our suburban and rural places, too. But the tragic fact is that despite or because of the challenges of scale, it is in the places of greatest concentration of need that the fewest spiritual and other resources are invested.

We should think twice before closing a vital neighborhood resource like a connected congregation. And we should not hesitant to close ineffective, unable-to-be-reneighbored congregations, nor hesitate to start a new neighborhood-based ministry.