Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Steps to Reviving a Small-Town Church

Like many small towns in America, my hometown has a church on just about every corner. The only reason many of them still survive is their age. Most were built in the early- or mid-20th century and some in the 19th century. The property has been long paid for and the few members that remain are able to sustain the meager cost of overhead.

The majority of these churches were built during a time when folks walked to church, and so many have no parking lots. Street parking is adequate for the few in attendance.

Being uncertain of the statistics, I am fairly sure that there are thousands of small churches with less than 20 weekly attendees. Some have seating capacities of hundreds or more. Many meet in beautiful structures, built at a time when craftsmen were artisans and the materials used were to last until the Lord’s return.

They are hollow shells of fading memories, glory days of long past. Yet, when I walk into these enduring structures, maintained by a few faithful, I sense life. I hear hymns of old; I see altars once filled with the repentant; there are tear-stained pews that rejoiced with weddings and mourned at funerals. I see children scurrying to Sunday school classes taught by anointed lay teachers. I see history waiting to be revived. But how do we awaken these sleeping giants of the past?

I recently read this tweet by storytelling executive Rick Rekedal: “Whether you have a product, a service, or property, it is so critical to ask, ‘Who’s this for?’ not, ‘How can I market this?’” May I add “a church” to his list by likewise asking, “Who is this church for?”

How can a small-town church be revived? Read More

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