Religion News Service is reporting that about 1 percent of congregations close their doors each year, an amazingly low number compared to other organizations. The reason most congregations fail? Here’s one person’s take:
“The main difference between congregations doomed to disband and congregations destined for revival is a willingness to adapt, to alter their congregational identity in response to change in the communities in which they are located,” the authors of the study concluded. “And whether a congregation is willing to adapt depends largely on the outcome of conflict between advocates of the status quo and advocates of change.”
And here’s how one person taps the brakes on any giddiness someone maybe feeling because churches close at such a slow rate?
Mark Chaves, a sociologist at Duke University and co-author of the study, said a low mortality rate should not automatically be considered good news for houses of worship.
“Normally, one would think such a low mortality rate means that congregations overall are unusually healthy organizations,” he said. “But we believe that’s probably not the case. Instead, we think it means that congregations are a type of organization that has ways to stay alive even when they are very weak.”
What do you think about churches closing? Painful problem or natural occurrence?