News

170-year-old church closes its doors

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This sad story is repeating itself all over America.  A once vibrant church forced to shutter its doors.

Like the story in Mercury News noted, First Presbyterian isn’t the victim of a greedy landlord or part of a big land purchase by a tech company. The congregation’s membership had shrunk to fewer than 20 in recent years, with many members now over the age of 80.

It’s not that churches need to dilute their messages to retain their relevance, strong Bible-believing churches are impacting their communities everywhere.

But churches that refuse to change and wind up stuck in the mindset of “that’s how we’ve always done it,” are going to find that the rest of the world passes them by.

Churches today need a strong online presence. Why? Because that’s how people interact today. They need meaningful programs that help people of all ages with real problems they’re facing.

The idea of a monthly men’s breakfast and an annual weekend retreat isn’t enough to impact lives.

I don’t know enough about the issues that lead to closing a 170-year-old church. But, I do know that I have been in several churches — many legacy churches — that died years ago and are just waiting for time to catch up.

From Mercury News:

“It makes me sad,” said Sharon Johnson, a church deacon who delivered the prayer for illumination at the final service. “We knew it was happening, but there was nothing we could do about it.”

“We reached a point where we couldn’t keep going. Our programs were all we could handle,” said Charlotte Powers, a longtime member and former San Jose City Councilwoman.

“No one was pushing the church out against their will. The Presbytery of San Jose, which owns the property, would have vigorously pushed back,” said the Rev. Joseph S. Lee, Executive Presbyter, who added that the changing nature of downtown San Jose, as well as the changing nature of spirituality and religion in the United States, were other factors.

The full story can be found in Mercury News.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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