In addition to these stories that we have as a family observed in worship every Sunday, we claim many more personal stories including the celebration of weddings, challenges met, lives saved, and victories won. We have honored the lives of those who have passed into glory and rejoiced in the newness of life in baptism. Our church always will be a gift to us, our loved ones, our community, and the world. Now that our church’s formal ministry is concluding, it is a time for both grieving and celebrating.
Much of the New Testament is devoted to letters written to congregations that were once vibrant and alive. Today, however, none of the churches started by Paul still exist. If you travel to Corinth or Ephesus today, you will see that there are no longer people living in areas that were once thriving cities. We note, however, that even though those churches no longer exist, their ministries begun centuries ago continue to touch us today; their legacies have lived on in the faith of generations of believers.
Churches—like people—have life cycles, and death is an inevitable part of life. It does not mean failure or defeat. The closure of a church with such a rich legacy likely means that God is preparing to give birth to something new - for each and every member. As people of the resurrection, we together claim that God is preparing to do a new thing!