Should Churches Exist Forever?
The church as a universal body of Christ’s followers will never die. But are local churches supposed to last forever?
Perhaps local churches are movements, not institutions. Movements have a start and an end. They may last years or decades. When we try to capture a movement, it can become static, even rigid. By trying to prolong or institutionalize a movement, we may take away its power.
Yet when it comes to a local church, it can be easy to adopt the mindset that it is an institution that must last forever. The goal then becomes stability or even just existence, squashing flexibility and risk-taking. We can also assume scarcity or competition frameworks, afraid to share our resources lest we “lose” or “die.”
In addition, organizations are made up of human beings, which make them living organisms. Organisms have life spans. They are not supposed to live forever. Even the healthiest human beings grow old. As much as we may try to extend our youth (or at least our youthful looks), plastic surgery only goes so far.
Instead of assuming that a church must last forever, perhaps we should assume that it will not.