My story is simple. While enjoying starting a church, my established home church was struggling. It caused me to question what would become of all the established churches. That burning question in my heart lined with a church in need of revitalization. I agreed to be their pastor. The rest is my history. We have help start two churches and helped revitalize three others.
Because of my experience, I often encourage want-to-be church planters to consider church revitalization.
I realize church revitalization doesn’t have all the attraction of church planting. But the attraction in church revitalization is the same as church planting. It is the mission. Church revitalization isn’t for everyone. For some it might be just what God has for them.
10 reasons to consider church revitalization:
You love the thought of restoring history.
Our last two churches were over 100 years old – the last close to 200 years. Wouldn’t it be a shame to see that history come to an end – if we can reverse the decline?
You are ready to go to work now.
There are far more opportunities in church revitalization. I have heard that near 90% of established churches are in decline or plateaued. There’s work to be done immediately.
You like having an established base of financial support.
Many established churches have loyal supporters. Sometimes those are the ones that never want any change, but many times those people are just waiting for leadership to take them somewhere better than where they are today.
You love inter-generational ministry.
In an established church, if you start to reach younger people, you’ll see a blending of generations. That’s a beautiful experience. And personally, I think it’s healthy and a very Biblical model of church.
You like a challenge.
You will face opposition if you try to change things from where people are comfortable. These are not the same challenges found in a church plant. But you agreed to walk by faith, right? And you’ll have that opportunity in church revitalization.
You won’t run from every conflict.
In church revitalization, you must stay the good course. The mission is too vital.
You enjoy healthy structure.
Granted, it might not be healthy, but you’ll find structure. And, as long as you’re not doing away with structure completely, you can usually tweak structure to be healthy again.
You are Kingdom-minded.
Church revitalizers, like church planters, have to see the bigger picture. There are more Kingdom dollars being under-utilized in stagnant churches than may ever be invested in church planting. What are we going to do about it? If you’d like to know the answer – maybe you’re a candidate for revitalization.
You can endure a long-term approach.
It likely won’t happen immediately. In church planting, we could change things every weekend. That’s not necessarily true in the established church.
Certainly we saw some immediate, very positive changes and the church began to grow quickly. The best changes take time, but they pay off dramatically.
You truly love the local church.
I didn’t love everything about the church I pastored – or the established church I attended all my life until surrendering to ministry. But I truly love the local church. Enough that I’d be willing to invest energies in trying to save one.
There are many churches who are ready to grow again with the right pastoral leadership. I encourage some of our eager pastors to consider allowing God to use you in revitalizing an established church.
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