Monday, May 11, 2015

Grasping at Growth

Here are three signs signaling your church may be in trouble and in need of revitalization.

I’ve spent the majority of my ministry planting local churches. I have an entrepreneurial bent and find the challenge of church planting exhilarating. When God presented me with an opportunity to revitalize an established church, I was a bit apprehensive.

I had heard the horror stories of churches controlled by power-hungry deacons and family groups. I’d also heard about burned-out pastors exhausted from constant and sustained conflict. In prayer, the Holy Spirit assured me He was orchestrating this season of my life. So, with that confidence, I accepted the pastorate of the church, and God has blessed. Since that time, I have given myself to thinking and learning about church revitalization.

Let’s begin with this truth: All churches need revitalizing to some degree. Every pastor sees areas of his or her church in need of help. Perhaps the youth team needs leadership training. Maybe the women’s ministry requires a structural overhaul to sustain its rapid growth. The list of ministry areas in need of constant support is unending. There are times, however, when a church (for reasons we will examine) has lost its way and needs total revitalization.

The obvious outward sign of a church in need of revitalization is a consistent stagnation or decline in membership and evangelistic effectiveness. In reality, decline and ineffectiveness are only the fruits of larger problems. Somewhere in the local church’s history, it drifted from its vision for the community. No one intended for it to happen. The drift was slow and virtually unnoticed by many. Then suddenly the local church found itself in a leadership or financial crash. Fingers point, and feelings are hurt. Sadly, some wash out and never again connect with a local church.

I want to explore three marks signaling a church is in trouble. While there may be more marks, my involvement in and research of churches requiring revitalization has led me to see these three as chief. The ordering of these marks is purposeful. They paint the picture of a church moving away from vision toward decline and death. Keep reading

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