High costs and lack of attendance are forcing churches to close down.
America is facing a strange problem, where a large number of churches have to shut down, as they are unable to maintain the upkeep for their properties. Every year, at least 6,000 to 10,000 churches stop functioning, and this figure continues to grow.
It is quite strange, as over 70 percent of the American citizens associate themselves with Christianity. However, when it comes to attending church services, several residents believe it doesn’t have a huge role to play in their beliefs.
One example of this dire situation is the St. Vincent De Paul Church from the 19th century. Back in the day, several Christians used to attend the congregation, giving it a vibrant vibe. During the early 2000s, this church faced significant problems, as it didn’t get the necessary donations, due to lower attendance among the members.
The same church is now known as Spire Lofts, a posh apartment complex, where every unit goes for several thousands of dollars every month. Another example is South Boston’s St. Augustine’s Church, where neighbors prevented the developer from demolishing this building. To appease all the parties, developer Bruce Daniel decided to convert it into condos.
In Troy, New York, St. Francis de Sales Church had to close its doors permanently in 2009 for similar reasons. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute took this opportunity to transform it into residential space for Phi Sigma Kappa.
Several churches are looking at a bleak future, as donations and attendance have been on the decline for several decades. As a result, they are finding it challenging to operate for even a handful of hours every week.
The trend is not new, as several property owners are transforming church properties into all types of establishments. For instance, they are repurposing them into living spaces, bars, and wineries. The developers change these churches into Airbnbs, bed-and-breakfast joints, and hotels. There also have been cases where property owners transformed them into a skate park, indoor playground, and a place to play laser tag. Pastors have the option of selling their churches and conducting their functions in public schools. While there is the possibility of merging with other churches, this decision can cause more problems than solve them.
One possible reason is due to the rise in a number of people who don’t associate themselves with any religious organization.
100 churches in the US will die this week.
“Church attendance is simply not as important to Americans as it once was.”
This is true, but my greater concern is that Christ is not as important to church members as He once was.https://t.co/kjzgQt0xkR
— tom ascol (@tomascol) November 28, 2018
However, there is still hope. Investment banker and evangelism professor Larry Duggins and Elaine Heath joined forces to form Missional Wisdom Foundation. The organization aims to come up with alternative and innovative ways to help dying churches.