Revitalization is a buzzword that has been around for some time. To keep it simple let us look at revitalization as a means to increase the vital nature of a local congregation in relation to God and the community where He has planted them.
One indicator for determining church health is focus. Is the church focused inwardly, outwardly or both? (Both is the healthy answer.) Inward focus is where churches seem to turn naturally. Just as a car whose wheels are misaligned might steer to the left, unless you constantly apply pressure to combat it, the church will turn inward if leadership doesn’t apply pressure to steer it toward doing the Great Commandment.
One question to determine if your church has an outward focus might be, “If our church disappeared tomorrow would our community miss us?” Or to dig a bit deeper answer this follow-up question, “What exactly would our community miss if we were gone?”
I had coffee with a pastor this week and in our conversation I was reminded that attendance numbers, or a lack of them, do not indicate the amount or quality of a church’s vitality. This particular pastor leads a church in an area people are not moving to but are moving away from.
Throughout our time together he told me of his intent to preach the Word, no holds barred, and to disciple the people that attend. But he also shared, that is not enough.
To get “outside the walls” of the church building his church is doing some interesting things. A group of ladies gather once a week to bake cookies. They take them to a different business or organization in the community every week along with a small note that says where the cookies came from. Simple, yet effective way to tell the people around the community that they are loved. The church is also organizing a 5k/10k race on June 1st. The proceeds of the race are not to benefit the church but to bless something that is important to the community.
And he is going even further to prepare his church folk by utilizing “Who’s Your One” to encourage his members to identify and pray for those who are not yet Christian as they engage their community.
The result of their outward focus is that the people are becoming excited about Jesus as they engage their community. The pastor was very plain, they are not just baking cookies or planning a race because they are nice things to do. This small church is working hard to create onramps to Jesus. It is all about living out the Gospel alongside the preaching of the Gospel.
Sometimes, we need help thinking through how we can do these things. Call me, Bob Weeks, at 812/592-3755 or email me to arrange a meeting for coffee and conversation.