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A hospice ministry for dying churches

A hospice ministry for dying churches

Ed Stetzer who blog for Christianity Today says it is time to create hospice ministries for dying churches. He writes:

Today, most denomination or network leaders react to the closing of churches. In the future, wise leaders must anticipate and prepare for the closure of churches. They will facilitate a dignified death for congregations, much like Hospice facilitates sick individuals in anticipation of their passing. …. We have to help people in dying churches to recognize some signs that it’s time for their church to die, and that it’s okay to die sometimes.

Among the signs that a church may be ready to die, he writes are “a lack of interest in leadership positions” and pastoral leaders who vision for the congregation is “to hang on as long as we can.”

Stetzer adds: “If the only reason people join and remain in the church is out of obligation or out of family connection, that’s a sign that the church’s time has come to an end. A church is where people grow, worship and serve God out of a sense of opportunity, not obligation.”

Do Stetzer’s ideas make sense to you? How might they be applied in the Episcopal Church?


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jon white

This is an important kind of ministry that is much needed. Some times institutions need to die so that the kingdom of God might arise. Let us remember that almost all of the churches to which Paul addressed his letters no longer exist, and yet their impact and legacy are huge. As well, I know that this sort of ministry is already happening, but we really need to be more upfront and honest about it as well as discovering best practices.

Jon White

John B. Chilton
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