• Eliza Thornberry

    Hi, I’m the founding pastor’s daughter at my church. My father has retired several years ago, but the church remains his burden. My father’s replacement abruptly left the church a few months ago which blindsided the administration and the members. He started his own church only two weeks after he quit and managed to take more than half of the members with him. Now we are left with the remaining congregation, but they are mostly the elders who have been with us since we started 26 years ago. We have since introduced a new pastor, like an interim pastor, but I sense that he will not be with us long because there has been no progress in membership or finances. How does a founding pastor chose to close “his” church or not? How does my father let go of his legacy for good? Should he keep trying to find new pastors willing to lead. If those pastors keep quitting on the church when does he say enough is enough and close the door? Is it right for him to do so? If my father cannot lead and no one is willing to lead this dying church, then what more is there to do? This is all so heartbreaking.

  • Michael T. McCosker

    As a pastor of a church in this situation I struggle with knowing what is the right thing to do. We have a declining membership, and we are barely making ends meet on a skeleton budget. The folks here love Jesus, but are mostly in the retirement years, and most have been serving/attending here for over 50 years. Prayers appreciated… mtmccosker@comcast.net

    • Eliza Thornberry

      Hi Pastor Michael,

      I’m the founding pastor’s daughter at my church and we are going through a very similar problem. My father has retired years ago, but the church remains his burden. My father’s replacement abruptly left the church a few months ago which blindsided the administration and the members. He started his own church only two weeks after he quit and managed to take more than half of the members with him. Now we are left with the remaining congregation, but they are mostly the elders who have been with us since we started 26 years ago. We have since introduced a new pastor, like an interim pastor, but I sense that he will not be with us long because there has been no progress in membership or finances. Did you figure out whether to close your church or not? How does my father let go of his legacy for good? Should he keep trying to find new pastors willing to lead. If those pastors keep quitting on the church when do we say enough is enough and close the door? This is all so heartbreaking.

      • Michael T. McCosker

        Eliza,
        Let me begin with, I am still at the current church for several reasons, but first and foremost, I have not felt a release from the Lord to move on. We continue to struggle, but we believe we are doing His work here in our community.

        I believe that my call is primarily to Preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God, not to be a church builder. Jesus promised that he would build the church and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. So I stand steadfast in proclaiming the word of God, knowing that King Jesus will fulfill his promise to build the church, and that Holy Spirit will call men and women to repentance.

        The situation that your church is going to is very sad, and I am sure heartbreaking for you father. That being said, his legacy will never be tarnished in the halls of heaven as he has ministered faithfully. And, again, recalling the promise of Jesus, as your church family stands faithfully in your community proclaiming good news, the gates of hell shall not prevail against God’s church.

        It may be that your church is at a place in which the Vision needs to be carefully looked at as God may be leading you all into new and different areas of ministry..

        The other question I have is “what can be done to reconcile the two groups?” If there is discord or animosity, it will hinder the work of God.

        Keep praying, I know that struggle is real, and difficult, but with God all things are possible. Holy Spirit has been whispering Joel 2:23-32 to my heart as of late, and it is a promise what God plans to do, may we just be in step with him.

  • 1. Where would the money tied up in the equity on your property be used more profitably, in your local community or abroad?
    2. Have you heard a specific word from the Lord after a period of corporate prayer and fasting?