Summary: Stop trying to hold together what God is not holding up!
Looking for surveyors jokes/stories for my speaking engagement next month, I came across this one.
Surveyor: This house is a ruin. I wonder what stops it from falling down.
Owner: I think the woodworms are holding hands.
Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
I confess that I have been in a few church buildings where I thought the woodworms, termites or something was holding hands to hold it together. I was afraid to sneeze in some and wondered if I could make it to an exit if it caught on fire as I was sure it would burn like tissue paper. I wondered how they kept from being condemned as a fire hazard. No one wanted to shut down a church, I reckon.
I have a pastor friend that said that churches are like people. They are born, become toddlers then teens, then adults and at some point become nursing homes then die. I have seen many in the nursing home stage and many who are, as they said back in the day, "dead and too dumb to drop over." I know that sounds a bit harsh and the same idea could be conveyed in softer tones, but the picture would be the same.
There are so many buildings being barely held together by people on fixed incomes whose tithes can't fix the building when it is in need of repair or support a pastor. They have not won a person to Christ or baptized anyone in years, maybe decades. They have no real outreach as members, and if they have a pastor, are just too age and health challenged to do it. They may support a missionary or two at $10 a month. That is the closest thing called outreach unless they do some nursing home ministry. They have become a transitional point before they enter a nursing home themselves.
I understand tradition and nostalgia, but it is not good stewardship. It is also not good for those folks to be alone when they could have fellowship in a Body that is at the adolescent to teen stage of its life adding their wisdom to that Body and being refreshed by the youthful vitality of that younger Body. It is not good to be meeting in a firetrap or walking on floors about to give way. God does approve of safety.
It does no good to live in the past and if the heyday of your church is past, then let go and move on. What happened in the 50s-80s happened and it was glorious, but for whatever reason the glory has departed and so you should depart. Your faith is not strengthened when you try to worship in building that is in decline. Your joy and faith tend to decline with it.
Some churches are not very old and yet are in the same shape. Many came into being because of splits. My observation is that if there is a split, one side of the split or both will not flourish. God has called His people to unity, not division. If the split was not about sound doctrine, the split was not of God. It is was of the flesh and Jesus is not going to bless the flesh.