Church Revitalization

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to travel to Jefferson City and take part in a "think tank" with some fellow Missouri Baptists on the topic of church revitalization.  In my view, church revitalization is a vital piece of the puzzle in reaching the lost in Missouri and elsewhere.

For those that aren't familiar with the term, "church revitalization" (as the name would suggest) is the process of restoring health to an established church that is in decline, or even near death.  I use the word "process" because true revitalization does not happen overnight.  Just as a patient in ICU needs time to fully recover from their illness, so too does a sick church.

Church revitalization is often a very difficult and trying process.  It takes time and patience.  (You don't turn the Titanic on a dime.)  It also requires a church that is honest enough to admit it's in decline, and is willing to make changes.  Many churches say they want to be healthy but, quite frankly, very few are willing to put forth the effort that is necessary.

However, for the few churches that are truly willing to do what it takes, revitalization is an awesome thing to behold.  As we know, God is in the resurrection business.  And it brings Him glory when a church is brought back to life.

Church revitalization is also good stewardship of God's resources.  If one could put a number on the assets (land, buildings, bank accounts) of declining churches in Missouri alone, it would stagger the mind.  Church revitalization puts empty buildings and dormant bank accounts back to work for the Kingdom.

Brian Croft, at his blog Practical Shepherding, lists five characteristics of church revitalization:

1)  It is an effort to revive an established, but struggling, church.
2)  It mandates a change in direction.
3)  It requires patience and understanding with those there before you.
4)  Its goal is to become a healthy, diverse, multi-generational church.
5)  Its purpose is to display the glory of Christ to the world.

Church revitalization is hard work, but it's worth it.  Does your church need to have this conversation?