If this has happened to you, I feel for you. I really do. If you invested energy and time and money into a failed church, I grieve for your loss. You see, it happened to me too. Four years after I left the first church I pastored to take another, it stopped meeting altogether. By that time people had invested thousands of hours and about a million dollars into it.
Failing? Do churches fail? Oh yes. Every church that folds is a colossal spiritual failure of unbiblical proportions. Who ever heard of a church folding and going away in the New Testament? It’s unknown and never even addressed there. Churches done the apostolic way don’t fail and fold up.
One time, Jesus threatened to take away one church’s lampstand, that is, their power to bear witness to the light of the gospel (Rev. 2:5). But that’s not the same as going belly-up. The people in that church were genuine Christians, and Jesus never takes away His Holy Spirit from His own.
So why would they stop meeting for worship?
Today’s church failures are a clear window through which to see Christianity astray. Researchers claim 4,000 churches fail every year in the United States alone, but that’s way too low. The researchers would have missed a church failure like my first pastorate and the many church splits that are private, and end up failing.
Nor do they count the number of failed house churches in the U.S. Taken together, the number is possibly above 100,000 per year. Something is wrong, but no one offers a solution from God’s word. The answer though, is the Local Body of Christ.
So again, I just want to extend sympathy to you, and let you know you are far from alone. The dishonor done to Christ by failed churches is impossible to calculate. But here’s a start. The portrait of Christ drawn for you by your church’s failure is not descriptive of His saving power, but rather His judgment. You see, in His word He teaches that He wants all His own worshiping together on Sunday morning in unity, not scattered into lots of churches. That disobedience brings His judgment in the present time, one form of which is closure. And when He exercised His hand of judgment on your church and shut it down, He was actually having mercy on you.
Now if you love Christ then you desperately need to find a church that obeys Scripture, especially – and above all – in the matter of Sunday morning worship. If you have to drive an hour to be a part of a church that worships your Lord obediently, then drive you must. Convenience is not part of discipleship. The early Christians had to walk to church, often from some distance away.