Alban Institute discusses the effects of loss on congregations:
Many congregations find themselves in crisis. Their crises may be related to significant changes in the surrounding community or culture, or within their own walls and structures. The heart of the crisis centers on years of accumulated losses that have resulted in unbearable pain, fluctuating levels of self-confidence, and insecurity about the future.
Some of possible losses:
Loss of Members
Loss of Congregation’s Centrality for Members
Loss of Pastors and Staff Members
Loss of Traditions
Loss of Structural Supports
Loss of Status in the Community
Loss of Stability
All these can result in a Loss of Confidence, Loss of Energy and Loss of Identity:
Enduring multiple losses and changes, many congregations have found their confidence eroding in significant dimensions of the faith community. Such a loss of confidence is seen when:
Members lament that the congregation is not attracting the best and brightest leaders;
leaders mourn that members are not as committed to their faith as members were in a previous era;
members and leaders grieve the divisions that agitate many denominations as partisan groups quarrel over theological and social issues; and
congregations lament the increasing gap between their identity and ministries and the communities and culture in which they live.
Mourning loss and discerning a future are key to survival.