By Roger Byrd
Nearly every church needs revitalization in some area. An active and growing church may be healthy in many areas, and yet have need to revitalize a few vital systems.
It may be like going to the doctor for an annual checkup. Your body may be generally healthy and in overall good condition, but at the same time need treatment for a malady under the surface.
Sometimes church revitalization begins in the unseen zones of systems and strategies.
Here are five critical steps to begin evaluating church revitalization.
Nothing lasting will happen in God’s church without prayer. Prayer is the foundation of God’s action and leading in the church. It will align our hearts with God’s plan and allow us to be in step with His actions in our community.
Prayer is the breath of a Christian’s relationship with God. It gives meaning to life like the air in your lungs providing energy to your body. Prayer brings renewal in a believer’s spiritual life, and that revival is necessary for the church to experience revitalization.
Our suggested plan begins with a “Count the Cost” assessment which takes two views at church, to discover where the church is financially and in attendance.
- The Financial side – balance and margin. Are you spending wisely from four budgeting buckets that allow room for margin and growth as God directs?
- The Attendance side – where is the church related to seven targets of growth? Potentials, attendance, groups, leaders, outreachers, contacts and baptisms.
This plan lays a foundation for understanding outreach and making disciples that will open new doors and set new parameters for your selected strategies.
The church reflects the attitudes and character of its pastor. The pastor of a revitalization church needs to be a God-called servant with a long leadership view. Sometimes, inner toughness is required, surrounded by extreme gentleness and kind nature to lead in difficult circumstances. Pastors can lead well if they love their members and tell them the truth.
I heard a speaker once say, “The pastor is like the head of a turtle. He can stretch his head to the right or to the left all he wants – but he’s going nowhere until the body catches up.” It seems to be true. Pastors often challenge a congregation to do spiritual activities and become frustrated that they are slow to move toward their goals. Patience and love will win them over in the long run.
Revitalization in most churches will be a long-term pursuit. It takes about seven years to reach the corner and another seven to move down the block. If pastor and people can bond in Christ for the gospel’s sake and plan steps forward to reach and disciple believers, they can revitalize the church in the process. Lives will be changed, and the Kingdom will advance.