Church revitalization is hard work. Most of the time, the task requires turning around a ship that has been floating in the wrong direction for a long time – and it’s easy to give up too soon. If you’re in a church revitalization situation, either as a pastor or a lay leader, I hope this post about some of the joys of revitalization is encouraging to you:
1. In a revitalization, even the smallest victories are big ones. That is, you don’t worry about achieving great wins until you accomplish the little ones. That means you rejoice more often.
2. Church members who long for revitalization are deeply grateful for pastors willing to lead in that direction. They know stick-to-it-ness matters in revitalization, and they’re thankful for pastors who make that commitment. They support and love those pastors.
3. Revitalization generally increases our prayer life. The task of renewal in a declining church pushes us to lean on God in prayer, and most of us need that kind of impetus. Praying more never hurts any of us.
4. The gospel of hope becomes evident in revitalization. This work is the story of life out of decline, hope out of despair, and renewal out of grief. That’s what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.
5. Revitalization almost forces us to seek the help of others. Too many of us church leaders operate as loners, but revitalization pushes us to learn from and lean on others who’ve already walked in our shoes. That’s one reason Church Answers exists: to be a place where we can walk with one another.
6. Re-igniting a struggling church is good for the congregation, the community, and the nations. Even if the positive change is incremental and slow, it’s still a move in the right direction. The church that is only slightly healthier than it has been still has a bit more to offer to a dying world.
7. Long-term, faithful church members rejoice publicly when their church begins to see life again. In fact, you can usually see it on their faces. They might be few in number, but their excitement is almost palpable – and that zeal can spread to others in the congregation.
8. Each revitalized church is an inspiration to the thousands of others who need hope. One story is evidence that God still does revitalizing work, and one story is all we need to find renewed faith in the work. Our prayer at Church Answers is that you might find that encouragement in this community and then become one of those churches that encourage others.
What would you add to this list?
Originally published at Church Answers.
Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. A conference speaker and author or co-author of more than ten books, including Spiritual Warfare: Biblical Truth for Victory, Discipled Warriors, Putting on the Armor, Mentor, and Spiritual Warfare in the Storyline of Scripture, Dr. Lawless has a strong interest in discipleship and mentoring. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.