Here's a couple of related stories. One is a piece on increased foreclosures on churches; the recesssion has hit donations and increased the need for benevolence at the same time. It also points out the hubris of many churches that growth always keeps going and donations will continue to follow that nice trend line on the annual report. The Crystal Cathedral is a good case study of what happens when those trend lines don't match reality.
One downside of a congregational polity is that you don't have a denomination to bail you out if you get into financial hot water; other like-minded churches might donate some funds to keep you afloat, but big troubles will often have you on your own and on the street (or in rented facilities).
If you do have a denominational polity, Big Daddy can bail you out. Cleveland saw that this week as the Vatican pulled rank on a diocese church-closing plan, reopening 13 of the 50 parishes slated to close. Parishioners of the baker's dozen put in a plug to keep their struggling churches open and managed to be heard in Rome. The Catholic Church isn't a democracy, but that doesn't mean that the bosses don't listen, especially if it is an issue that isn't doctrinal like church closures.
Of course, the LA Diocese is getting creative on church space, buying the Crystal Cathedral off the Schuller clan and starting an innovative Levitating Mass.