7 Reasons Why Churches Will Close Their Doors the Next Decade

Clint Rogers


Clint Rogers


7 Reasons Why Churches Will Close Their Doors the Next Decade

The global pandemic of 2020 truly took the world, and especially the United States of America, by storm. The pandemic caused a huge economic collapse, the loss of millions of jobs, it infected and took the lives of thousands, and caused a wave of fear to take over the country. Although there is hope that the pandemic is loosening its grip, the consequences of it will be seen for years to come.

One of the biggest results of the pandemic was a massive shift in our normal way of doing business. Quite literally, businesses were completely changed overnight and had to completely flip their way of doing things. Some businesses, like restaurants and coffee shops, were able to make headway by offering curbside pickup, delivery, and takeout. Others however who were not able to easily adapt to social distancing and online commerce, unfortunately, had to shut their doors.

This pandemic has taught us something we should have already known — we must be able to adapt to stay afloat. Fighting against the grain of culture is not a noble thing to do, it is quite foolish. We cannot hold too tightly to “the correct way of doing things” because that method may someday become irrelevant. Changing the way you do things is not a cop-out — it enables you to better leverage and infiltrate the culture.

Just like with the shifts in businesses, churches must be willing to make some changes per the current cultural climate if they want to continue. If they don’t change, they too may need to post “closed” signs on their doors. Here are a few reasons why churches will close their doors in the next decade.



If there was a question about it before, there definitely shouldn’t be one now — churches need an online presence. The argument at one point was that “I don’t need an online presence because my congregation isn’t online.” But the pandemic and closure of thousands of churches have taught us that even those who were at once never online needed to be if they wanted to attend church.

If churches want to thrive in the next decade, they simply have to have a presence online. If the call of the church is to meet people where they are and bring them the news of Jesus Christ, they must meet them where they are: online!



It is vital to have an online presence as a church, but this doesn’t mean just throwing up a makeshift website and creating a Facebook page. Your digital presence shouldn’t be an afterthought or just an additional part of what your church already does. Your digital presence is one of the most important parts of your ministry!

This presence though cannot just exist for the sake of existing, it should be high quality and contribute to the life of your church. The reason this matters so much is because of the shift in attendance from in-person to online. Although physical church attendance is far from over, online church attendance will only increase from here on out. If you still don’t have a live stream or website 10 years from now, you may risk losing out on the bulk of your attendees and even have to shut down as a whole.


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This reason is pretty straightforward: your church will die if you don’t continually raise up people in the next generations. This is not meant to be pessimistic, but it is just a reality: if your congregation is made up of entirely those in The Silent Generation & Baby Boomers, the church will pass on with them.

Churches that want to be thriving 10 years from now need to put a heavy focus on the younger generation because they are the future of the church. Millennials and Gen Z are the ones who will be our pastors, leaders, and preachers a decade from now. The younger generation cannot be dismissed or overlooked — they must be embraced and built up as leaders and Christ-followers.



There are individuals like this in every church: the person who comes in right as service starts, sits in the last row, and dips out to avoid talking with anyone. Even if you have the best church ever, there are still people whose community involvement starts and ends at Sunday services.

The church is so much more than a weekly event. The church is a community that is meant to go beyond a 1-hour service. The church is wherever we are! One of the best attributes of being the church is experiencing a godly, encouraging community throughout the week.

A lack of community can often result in a lack of connection, gossip, and miscommunication. Churches may not immediately shut their doors if they don’t focus on community, but they may struggle to maintain a healthy and family-like atmosphere in their church.


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This point is a huge one in our modern-day ideologies in church. In the last decade, the focus was on extremely attractive, rock concert-like church services. The goal was to get people in, preach the Gospel, and get them saved. This model of church has made huge waves in the church world and we have seen so many people come to Jesus who never knew Him.

People getting saved is one of the biggest goals of the church as we are called to share the Gospel and invite people into the Kingdom of God. While there is joy in the lost coming home, we must remember that Jesus commissioned us to something extremely important: discipleship.

Yes, it is amazing for someone to come to church and encounter the living God, but we must ask ourselves what we are doing to help people after they are saved. Many people have this salvation experience and stick around for a few weeks at church, but many never come back to church again.

The church must care about discipleship, period. If we don’t, the church will lack the spiritual maturity to grow our communities, go deeper in our faith, and see others come to know Jesus. Without true discipleship, our churches will die in no time.



In point 3, we talked about the dangers of neglecting the younger generations and how it can have a drastic impact on the church. Leadership is another area that we cannot afford to ignore if we want to see our churches thrive and grow.

As a leader, part of your job is to equip and build up other leaders. The idea of “replacing yourself” simply means taking someone under your wing and leadership so that if one day you have to leave leadership for some reason, they can fill in your spot. This method is not just for the practicality of leadership shifts, but to also empower younger leaders to step into their God-given talent. If we want to see our churches thrive, empowering leaders is a must!



The last of our 7 reasons why churches will close their doors in the next decade is an issue the church has had for years: a death grip on tradition. The truth is, people hate change, whether it is in their personal lives or the life of the church. They like the things they like, the methods they use, and the traditions they practice. People just like things the way they are and often resist radical change.

Holding on too tightly to our traditions may lead a church down the road of completely disregarding the current culture and the people in it. Jesus puts it this way in Mark 7:13: “You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

We must be willing to change our methods (not the message) to reach those in our current culture. If we don’t let go of our tightly held traditions, our churches risk closing their doors for good.

While all communities are different, the fact remains that we must think differently about how we do things in the church. Are we focusing on community and discipleship? Are we reaching the younger generations? Do we have a high quality and engaging online presence? Ask yourself these questions and see what your community can do to go deeper, reach more people, and thrive for years to come.

ave shifted from our largely in-person model to a fully online experience and even a mixture of digital and in-person. Wherever your church finds itself on the spectrum of how you operate, the same thing remains true: we are all out of our element in this season.

Much of this season has been marked by uneasiness and a series of questions church leaders and pastors have asked themselves.

How do we navigate government ordinances?

Will our giving be affected?

Will our normal attendees ever come back?

What if everyone prefers an online church experience over being in the building?

What do we do if we have to close our doors again?

For the majority of us, our focus during the wake of the pandemic has been largely inward. We are worried about our church, our attendance, our numbers, and the list goes on and on. There is nothing wrong with asking the tough questions regarding your church’s livelihood, but in focusing so much inwardly, we can forget about the bigger picture.

When you are constantly focusing on yourself, you become completely blind to the needs around you. While culture would argue “put yourself first before everything and everyone else”, the call of the Christian is the exact opposite.

1 Corinthians 13 is famous for its description of love, namely Christ’s love for us. One of the most profound parts of this passage is where the author Paul states “love is not self-seeking.” This is a bold statement especially in our modern culture that is obsessed with “self.”

Our call as Christ-followers is not to obsess over our problems, our needs, and our wants — it is to willingly put the needs of others before ourselves.

When we put our faith in Jesus, we enter into a life that is no longer our own. Everything we do is not done in our power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit Who lives within us. It is this same Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, that spurs us to lay aside our needs and care about the needs of others, just as Jesus did when we lived on earth.

In all of His years in ministry, Jesus never once put His needs over the needs of others — we ought to do the same.

Jesus wasn’t caught up in the followers He lost, the money He possessed, or the uncertainty of the future. Jesus was caught up in the purposes and plan of the Father! He focused solely on the plan of the Father and didn’t get distracted by anything else that went on around Him. Jesus is the ultimate example of pursuing God’s plan without wavering!

Jesus is the King of the world, but He is also the King of “owning the moment.” He used every opportunity He had to point others to the goodness of God and the freedom found in the Son Whom God sent, i.e. Himself. Jesus used healings, teachings, and miracles to point people to God and to demonstrate His love for humanity.

Amid this season, there are endless opportunities laid before us to take hold of. While the cultural norm is to look to ourselves and our needs, the Christian norm is to look to others and their needs. Here are a few opportunities we have to both strengthen our communities and help those people outside of them.

While all communities are different, the fact remains that we must think differently about how we do things in the church. Are we focusing on community and discipleship? Are we reaching the younger generations? Do we have a high quality and engaging online presence? Ask yourself these questions and see what your community can do to go deeper, reach more people, and thrive for years to come.

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