The answer, after prayerful consideration on the part of the committee assigned to do the aforementioned study, evaluation, and contemplation, seems to lie not in downgrading to a smaller, more affordable, more visible location nor in altering our style of worship to attract young, hip worshippers, but in service, in going out into our community with the love of Jesus Christ.
What does this mean and how will it keep our church alive for another fifty, hundred, two hundred years?
I don't know.
But this I do know:
The Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
We can find no more biblical model of church than service sprung from a desire to make Jesus known to our neighbors and our world. Our spiritual forefathers, indeed the Author and Finisher of our faith himself, died for the sake of bringing God's love to a broken world. Should we balk at hosting a soup kitchen?
I expect it will be messy at times, if we truly seek the broken and needy, if we truly love and welcome them into our fellowship. Looking to Christ, though, I don't see how we can follow any other course.
As for how a more focussed effort to serve our community will help our church, I have to believe that when we are faithful to God and to his calling to go out into all the world, he will be faithful to provide and bless us beyond our imaginations, not only in the physical, material realm, but to the very depths of our souls.
He is, after all, God.