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Special project: Where have all the churches gone?

Find links to all the stories in The Christian Chronicle's in-depth series.


Where have all the churches gone?: Christian Chronicle undertakes a project to uncover what happens when church buildings close. Published March 1, 2022.

Part 1

A final song, a familiar end: Rural Tennessee congregation closes, reflecting trend seen nationwide. Published March 30, 2022.

Church closing trend began before COVID-19: In the past three decades, the number of Churches of Christ in the U.S. has fallen to 11,965 — down 1,209, or 9 percent. Published March 30, 2022.

Part 2

‘Where did the people go?’: When it comes to closed Churches of Christ, that may be the hardest question to answer. Published May 6, 2022.

Part 3

Struggle to save a church inspires an innovative partnership: Nonprofits and congregations work together on a plan to plant or rejuvenate 10 San Diego-area churches in 10 years. Published May 24, 2022.

Organizations offer struggling churches resources for the future: Links to partner nonprofits. Published May 25, 2022.

Part 4

‘Grandmother church’ of Dallas fights for its future: Path uncertain for Skillman congregation after vote to merge fails despite majority support. Published June 22, 2022.

Part 5

Better as one: Churches merge: The story of how two Cincinnati congregations came together offers insights. Published Aug. 26, 2022.

Part 6

Not-so-simple stewardship: Decisions and deeds from decades past can determine how closing churches preserve their legacy. Published Sept. 28, 2022.

Part 7

Listen ‘with your mouth shut’: Tips for leaders ministering to Christians longing for place, identity, history and tradition. Published Oct. 19, 2022.

Part 8

Churches embrace hope, change: The kingdom will sustain as congregations adapt and cooperate with others. Published Nov. 15, 2022.

Related coverage

Our ministerial crisis has arrived: Eight ideas for how we can turn the tide and meaningfully address the problem. Published Aug. 29, 2022.

Stan Granberg offers tough-but-good news to dying churches: The longtime professor gives readers useful tools for evaluating their congregation’s situation, practical steps to effectively respond and even hope when congregations must close. Published Aug. 1, 2022.

What my dad taught me about growing a church: This congregation’s growth had nothing to do with style. Rather, these three factors were crucial. Published April 4, 2022.

Shrinking congregations sell buildings: Part of a trend, the move by two churches to sell their buildings is aimed at ministry growth and financial stability. Published Jan. 28, 2022.

CHERYL MANN BACON is a Christian Chronicle correspondent who served for 20 years as chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University. In retirement, she is enjoying freelance writing and consulting, especially with churches. Contact her at [email protected].

Filed under: churches closing Churches of Christ Closing Churches Features growth and decline National News special project The Christian Chronicle Top Stories Where have all the churches gone

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