As your new Interim Team Leader for Church and Leader Development, I work a lot with church revitalization in our State. One of the best books I’ve read on this subject in the last year is Reclaimed Church by Pastor Bill Henard. He defines church revitalization as the spiritual “process by which the church learns to embrace changes necessary to get it back on and keep it in a growth plane.”
While in this sense every church—including a church plant 3 to 5 years old–needs revitalization from time to time, there are churches that need what Henard calls “Targeted Revitalization.” This requires not just taking a next step, but going through a process of steps that encourage revitalization. When does a church need to consider a targeted revitalization? Henard would say…
- When a ministry loses its effectiveness. Continuing to do the same thing every year expecting different results is often called the definition of insanity. Churches need to consider new ways of doing ministry so they can remain effective in reaching those who don’t know Christ through the preaching of God’s unchanging Word.
- When church members lose interest in a ministry. Declining enthusiasm for worshipping and serving Jesus may reflect a theological or spiritual reason for lack of participation, but it also may require a shift in how ministry is done.
- When conflict becomes commonplace. If a church is fighting against itself, it means that it has lost its vision and purpose.
- When Great Commission evangelism becomes secondary. Over time every church will become comfortable and turn inward. They will need to become more enthusiastic about the Gospel, and intentional in how they are sharing it with people outside of the church.
- When the church’s original vision is lost or not followed. While the original vision may still be on target, from time to time the church’s strategy for accomplishing the vision will need to be evaluated, updated, and effectively implemented.
- When a church needs to make changes to grow spiritually. Church revitalization is a spiritual process! God calls us to deeper levels of worship and discipleship that can’t happen overnight through the latest fad or program, but a church can initiate a series of steps in a direction over time where they’ll see God produce more transformed lives.
- When the church has gotten into a rut.
- When the church is ready to go to the next level. It’s our prayer that every SCBI church will want to create new ministry endeavors and engage new mission opportunities.
To begin the revitalization process, the author recommends that every church should seek to partner with a healthy church that can provide support for their revitalization effort. This can include: an example and insight into becoming a healthy church; leadership personnel to assist the church in ministry; and coaching support for pastors and members. SCBI’s purpose is to partner with churches to discover and fulfill their next step and to help churches partner with each other for increased effectiveness. If you would like to partner with us in revitalization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.