Close Your Chruch for Good, Chap. 2, Sec 1.
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What would happen to your city if your church shut down? Let’s begin with the people who attend the church. Most would be sad that their church closed, but eventually, the majority would go to another church in town. Some might stop attending church altogether, but it’s safe to say that the lives and schedules of most of the people in your church would change very little. Only the address of where they go to church would be different.
How about the people who may not attend on Sunday mornings, but are involved in some of the church programs? If the church has programs like Youth Group, MOPS, AWANA, AA, or a free meal for the homeless on a the Second Tuesday of the month, all the people who attend these would have to find other churches or social groups who host them. This is generally not too difficult, even in the smallest of towns. I once pastored a church in a small town with a 2000 Census population of 169 people. We were the only church in town, but there were other churches in nearby towns that had nearly identical programs. If our church had shut down, the people who attended our programs simply would have gone to another church or community center that hosted the same programs.
Moving outward from the church a little further, there are the immediate neighbors of the church—those who live next door and on the same street or block. They would notice if your church shut down, but it wouldn’t affect their lives too much. Most churches have surprisingly little contact with their closest neighbors. If your church closed, the neighbors might wonder what happened, but there would be little noticeable difference in their lives. There is one exception. Some churches, like people with loud dogs, do not make the best neighbors. This is especially true of large churches in residential areas. Police and pastors often receive complaints from the neighbors of large churches about traffic congestion and excessive noise on evenings and weekends. Just as you would probably be annoyed if a large dance club opened up next to your home because of the noise and traffic it would cause, so also, many neighbors get annoyed by large churches on their street. So in these cases, the neighbors might actually rejoice if your church closed.