There are a LOT of churches around. What would we do if more people started identifying as nones...? It would be a total waste to just leave all that real estate lying around.
I am a boomer. When the boomers were school age, schools were built. When the baby bust followed, school districts sold schools. The elementary school my former husband went to was bought by a church. Real estate never lies around, it will be bought and re purposed. There is no lack of demand for space. They might lose some money but I don't see that as being a concern.
I'm completely with the homeless shelter idea previously stated, but if that wasn't viable for some crazy reason, I'd want them to be dance halls and music venues, I like the idea of loads of 4 piece bands playing rock and roll, with people doing the twist and jiving all day long, I'd never get bored of that.
I was reared Catholic and there are several Catholic churches around this rural area. Attendance is way down. One church is no longer used. Another two have scaled back services significantly. The church continues to hoard the property, tax free. I think it's a long, long time before we see these buildings and plots sold off.
Don't reuse them there tainted burn them down. Actually that is the correct way to destroy something spiritual or holy/sacred. And if not I would turn them into business or meeting halls, dance halls, or they can be used as auditoriums, homeless shelter, private atheist schools, science labs ooooooooohhhhhh a Dojo you can fit a pretty nice mat in most churches. just some ideas i could go on for ever. But I would want to burn one down.
A woman in a small nearby village bought a church that was no longer in use. She has musicians come play for donations. They also sell their CDs. If we arrive early, we can wander through the cemetery in back that was included with the church. Another two churches here in town have converted to apartments. Unfortunately, I can't see anybody paying for an old church, even one in bankruptcy, and not living in it or making money on it somehow.
They could be easily used as insane asylums for those still hanging on to the disease while religion is dying out. Then, we could turn a few into hate museums where they cover the atrocious activities of the past and with religion being dead, people would likely be a little more rational and we could figure out a way to make sure there are no longer any homeless people.