Summary: There is a time to turn off the life support of a church and let it die with honor.
1 Cor 4:1-2
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards , that a man be found faithful. KJV
There are some people who believe that as long as there is a building you should do all you can to keep a church from closing. I disagree. One of the many problems that the American Church has is building worship. Just because God used a church 20 years ago or 50 years ago does not mean He will use it until the Rapture. Even the churches He praised in Revelation died out at some point.
I have a friend that believes that a church is like a person. It is birthed and goes from adolescence to maturity and eventually to old age and dies. That may be the way it is supposed to go but there are way too many churches in America on life support that should have died long ago. They are dead and too dumb to drop over as we said when I was a kid.
I have seen churches that can seat 400 have 12 members and an 80+ year old pastor. They were thrilled and felt God was still with them because they could pay the $50K roof repair bill. They had a parsonage that would rival Tara from Gone With The Wind and 12 people. That's not God. That's man's money and man's stubbornness and terribly poor stewardship.
There was a time when having a church every 3-5 miles may have been expedient when travel was by horse and buggy. That is no longer the case and to maintain so many buildings is a waste of God's money and manpower. I am talking about churches of like faith.
A few years back I found eight SBC churches in about a twenty mile radius that even if they would have merged congregations they would not have reached three hundred and at least one of them could have held 350. I tried to get just two of them to merge not all eight as some were three miles apart and you would have thought I had suggesting destroying the Ark of the Covenant if we could find it. None of the eight wanted to merge with its close "sister" church.
By the way, none of them had a pastor at the time as 13 and 17 people struggle to keep the doors open let alone support a pastor. One of the larger ones refused saying they had just hired a young PT pastor and expected to grow. I wished them luck as statistics showed that most of the SBC churches in the Dallas area were declining or at best stagnant. Things are even worse among Independent Baptists. Pride, not reality or anything else biblical or holy prevented these churches from merging and they will slowly die in their pride.
When I was an Associate Pastor at one church I offered another church in dire straits the opportunity to merge with us and a pastor who sent some lad to fill in called and practically cussed out my Senior Pastor for allowing me to even suggest such a thing. They were down to about 12 and most in their 70's and 80's having had a pastor every year in the last five years. They were also in danger of losing their building since they were right behind a fire station and the city could have easily exercised eminent domain and took it for little to nothing. In another few years they will be dead but the other pastor did not want them to merge with him. He couldn't handle closing a building even though the church's ministry was over. He could not let it die because buildings are SOOO important.
In the Bible, there was only ONE church per town. If we really believe that we shall live in Heaven forever why can't we worship in the same building if we hold the same doctrine? The reason has many answers and all are carnal. Pride, power, prejudice, and preferences separate us. We bought into the age group nonsense so young and old will not worship together even though the older are supposed to teach the younger. Can you imagine if the lad with the five loads and two small fishes were in junior church what Jesus would have had to do to feed the 5K?
It is the same Bible and the same truths. Odd that God did not have His men write the Word with titles like I and II Young Marrieds, I, II and III College Career, The Gospel of the Single or Divorced or had Psalms divided by age groups. The Word says that we are to study it "line upon line, precept upon precept" not by age groups or the 5 Minute Holiness Manager or 12 Steps to Prosperity. In the early church they read the ENTIRE epistle at each service not tidbits or even passages or chapters. No 15 minute sermon and 45 minute singing sessions. They met daily and one service even lasted until Midnight. One would have to ask that if our ways are so smart, seeker sensitive and such why is the church's influence waning and Christians so biblically illiterate and immature living on shifting emotion and not standing on solid doctrine?